Road damage by overweight trucks

To the editor:

The Brown County Board would like to remind everyone who drives a truck on Brown County roads of the damage that overweight trucks cause and why these roads are restricted, particularly in the spring. A legally loaded truck causes the same damage to the road as several thousand cars. An overloaded truck causes much more damage than a legally loaded truck.

Road construction is based on many engineering factors. A road is built with soil from the surrounding area. A gravel base is placed on top of the soil followed by a bituminous surface on top of the gravel. The thickness of the gravel and bituminous surface, type of soil the road is built from as well as the amount of traffic on the road, especially trucks, determines the strength of the road. The strength rating of a road is based on standard weights of vehicles such as an 80,000 pound five-axle tractor trailer truck. Ten-ton per axle loads are allowed to run on non-posted roads. Trucks carrying loads larger than 10 tons per axle cause extra damage to the road surface and thus wear it out sooner. In the spring when the top part of the road is thawed out and soft while the bottom of the road is still frozen, the road surface is weak. The road surface needs to be protected at this time by posting the road to a lesser legal load. Overweight trucks cause the most damage at this time of the year.

Brown County is struggling to maintain its roads with the current funding available. The cost of road construction and maintenance has increased 200-300 percent over the last 10 years while funding has increased only about 20 percent. Normal wear from traffic including legally loaded trucks is wearing out our roads faster than we can maintain them with the current funding. Overloaded trucks just speed up this deterioration of our highway system. Without the funds to maintain the roads from normal wear, Brown County wants to prevent the unnecessary wear and cost from overweight trucks by reminding people not to load trucks with more than the legal load.

Dennis Potter


Brown County

Board of Commissioners

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