Overweight trucks straining roads

first_imgThe weight limit for nearly all interstate highways is 40 tons. According to a government study, one 40-ton truck does as much damage to the road as 9,600 cars. But permits frequently allow vehicles to exceed that amount by two tons in Texas and sometimes as much as 85 tons in Nevada. Some states grant one-time permits that allow trucks to be considerably heavier. Around the country, many transportation officials dismiss such fears as overblown and say roads and bridges are safe, though some express concern that not enough is being spent to repair the damage done by extra-heavy trucks. As for why they issue overweight-load permits, many state officials said they have no choice – they are simply carrying out the laws as passed by the legislature. Critics of those laws say they are often written to benefit powerful local industries, such as logging in the West, or oil and gas in Texas. In the vast majority of cases, a single truck can safely pass over a sound bridge, even if the rig is way over the posted weight limit. But the cumulative effect of stress on the steel and concrete can eventually prove deadly. Engineers liken the effect of heavy trucks on a bridge to bending a paper clip: It can bend again and again without breaking, but eventually it will snap. Many states charge fees ranging from $12 to $1,000 for overweight-load permits, depending on the weight of the load. In theory, those fees are supposed to offset the damage done to the highways. Texas, for example, granted nearly 39,000 such permits in the past year, generating $7.5 million, most of which was divided among the state’s 254 counties for road maintenance. “That in no way even comes close to covering the wear and tear on our roads and bridges in this state,” said Chris Lippincott, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Transportation. Darrin Roth, director of highway operations at the American Trucking Association, said it is not fair to put all the blame on trucks because permit loads are a tiny proportion of total traffic. States allowed more than 500,000 overweight trucks to traverse the nation’s bridges and highways at will in the past year, according to an AP review of figures in all 50 states. Those permits were good for an entire year. While 10 states do not issue yearlong permits, all states hand out shorter-term permits good for a few days, weeks or months. Those add up to more than 1.8 million permits not included in the AP’s count. Many states, including Texas, have reported a modest increase in the number of overweight-load permits issued in recent years – a rise that Roth said can be attributed to a 2.5 percent to 3 percent annual increase in truck traffic because of the growing economy. Eric Lockwood, who routinely carries 42 tons of hot oil all over Texas and has a state-issued overweight-load permit, said he doesn’t worry much about bridges and weight limits. The permit does not allow him to travel on interstate highways, but he said he does so anyway about half of the time. When he gets ticketed, his company pays the fine, he said. He recalled crossing an old wooden bridge with no guardrails recently to deliver fertilizer to an East Texas rancher. “I’ve never really given it a second thought,” he said. California is more cautious with its overweight permits. Truckers in California, where about 23,000 single-trip permits are issued annually, must request permission to travel on a specified route for each trip. California transportation officials said they perform an extensive review to ensure the load can safely travel on the requested highways without damaging pavement and bridges. Often, truckers are required to reduce their loads. The danger is magnified by a recent federal finding that 18 percent of the nation’s bridges either do not have weight limits posted or incorrectly calculated the weight limits that are posted. Also, a federal study last year classified 26 percent of the nation’s bridges as either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. In the year before the Minneapolis disaster, the cause of which is still under investigation, the state Transportation Department granted permits for 48 overweight loads, including construction cranes and supplies weighing as much as 72 tons. The bridge had been categorized as structurally deficient, one of over 73,000 U.S. bridges with that designation last year. Generally, trucks are not allowed to exceed the 40-ton weight limit on interstate highways. However, some stretches of interstate have higher weight limits because they were grandfathered in when the federal interstate system was created during the Eisenhower administration. The numbers compiled by the AP do not include certain vehicles that states allow to operate without obtaining overweight-load permits. State policies vary greatly, with some much more lenient than others. Many states will not issue permits for loads that can be easily split up and carried at safer weights. “It’s one of the most befuddling policies we deal with, that we spend millions of dollars to build roads … and the state comes along and for a pittance gives out a permit to allow trucks to destroy those roads in a matter of months or years,” said Lee, the Texas official. Associated Press writers Aaron Davis in Sacramento; Colleen Slevin in Denver; and Martiga Lohn in Minneapolis contributed to this report.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! More than a half-million overweight trucks are allowed onto the nation’s roads and bridges – an increasingly routine practice that some officials say is putting dangerous wear and tear on an already groaning infrastructure. In interviews with The Associated Press, some experts warned that the practice of issuing state permits that allow trucks to exceed the usual weight limits can weaken steel and concrete, something that investigators say may have contributed to the Minneapolis bridge collapse Aug. 1 that killed 13 people. “We talk about this all the time and the fear that we have is that we’re going to have the same sort of disaster here that happened in Minnesota,” said Don Lee, executive director of the Texas Conference of Urban Counties. In 2000, Milwaukee’s Hoan Bridge collapsed when steel girders cracked. Several factors were blamed for the collapse, including a significant number of heavy trucks, some over the normal weight limit, that routinely traveled over the bridge. last_img read more


first_imgDonegal County Council says it is making progress throughout the county in the fight against those who continue to dump waste illegally.Suzanne Tinney Waste Awareness Officer with the Council they are disappointed at the level of recent dumping across the county. However they have vowed to continue to clamp down on dumpers and have already identify blackspots.“Although we are disappointed at the level of illegal dumping taking place at a time when we are working hard to promote Donegal as tourist destination, we are confident that by working with the community, we can tackle this issue to achieve a greener and cleaner county for everyone in Donegal including residents and visitors.“Dumping can range from discarding waste boxes or bags at a bottle bank site to larger scale dumping at more remote sites. These sites require perseverance and continued surveillance but I am confident that the Council is making in-roads and we will be continuing this approach with vigour over the coming months”.Ms. Tinney added  that the council is aware of areas where illegal dumping has become more prevalent and will continue to target these areas. Given the remote nature of some of the sites used for illegal dumping, Donegal County Council has invested in various surveillance equipment in recent years for use throughout the county.Ms. Tinney stated that “this investment includes a number of ‘trail’ cameras or covert cameras activated by infra red sensors, together with Road-Hawk Vehicle Digital Cameras. Others include high spec long range cameras which are acquired for surveillance on illegal activities involving waste management issues and these have proven to be very useful”.Enforcement ActivityIn 2012 Donegal County Council issued 173 fines or fixed penalty notices under the Litter Pollution Act 1997, up from 124 fines in 2011. The increase in the number of fines issued in 2012 is due partly to the increased level of resources invested by the Council in particular areas of the county.A breakdown of litter fines (fixed penalty notices under the Litter Pollution Act 1997) issued in 2011 and 2012 are outlined in the following table:Area Fines issued 2011 Fines issued 2012 Donegal 35 20Stranorlar 13 37Inishowen 44 19Letterkenny 26 32 Glenties 6 (part time only) 65Ms. Tinney stated that “where fines are not paid the Council will be continuing to initiate prosecutions through the court”. She added “under the Waste Management Act 1996 there were 7 cases before the courts in 2011 and 7 before the courts in 2012. This Council takes these issues very seriously and every effort will be made to combat all forms of illegal dumping”.Costs of Clean ups:In 2012 Donegal County Council spent in the region of €410,900 in cleaning up illegal dumping sites in Donegal and this was down from the 2011 figure of €428,800.Ms. Tinney stated that “this decrease in expenditure reflects a combination of things including the impact of the surveillance and enforcement measures that we have in place along with the support of the local community in addressing these issues”.The following is the breakdown of expenditure incurred by Donegal County Council in clean-up operations in 2011 and 2012Area 2011 Expenditure 2012 ExpenditureDonegal €13,660.65 €5,473.35Stranorlar €19,819.51 €18,944.66Inishowen €28,364.75 €30,690.10Letterkenny €8,755.29 €16,436.37Glenties €60,700.51 €38,533.16Mobile Litter Unit costs €297,521.45 €300,870.73€428,822.16 €410,948.37Excellent Community supportMs. Tinney paid tribute to the work of the Litter Wardens and Environment staff and added that she could not stress enough the importance of the excellent support of local community groups throughout the county in clean up campaigns such as the National Spring Clean campaign which is taking place this month. “These types of initiatives are great and I am always heartened by the great work that is done in Donegal by the local communities and this certainly supports us in the work that we do”.The public can contact the Council to report illegal dumping by calling our Customer Contact Centre on 07491 53900.Some examples of surveillance from around the county which has proven successful:Examples attached of illegal dumping activities caught on covert cameras deployed throughout the county. Enforcement including fines has been pursued in each case.COUNCIL UPS ITS WAR ON ILLEGAL DUMPERS was last modified: April 16th, 2013 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:Donegal County Councilillegal dumpinglast_img read more

Spiezio charged after run-in with cab driver

first_imgNEW YORK — Three years ago Scott Spiezio was in the middle of the Angels’ run to the World Series title. Earlier this week, he was charged with theft, general damage to property and simple assault, along with his girlfriend, Jennifer Pankratz, who is facing similar charges. Spiezio and Pankratz got into a dispute over their cab fare with the cab’s driver in Chicago. According to published reports, Pankratz tried to get her credit card back from the cabbie and broke his eyeglasses in the process. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 – The Angels lost relief pitcher Joel Peralta to the Kansas City Royals, who claimed the right-hander off waivers. Peralta became a prominent member of the Angels’ bullpen for a stretch midway through the season when others were either injured or unproductive. Peralta was 1-0 with a 3.89 ERA in 28 games for the Angels this season. — Joe Haakenson can be reached at (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2239, or by e-mail at [email protected] The cabbie accused the couple of stealing his cell phone, which rang inside Pankratz’s purse when a policeman called the cabbie’s phone number. Spiezio left the Angels after the 2003 season and signed a three-year, $9 million deal with the Seattle Mariners, who released Spiezio earlier this season. center_img 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more