With no increases since the early 90s to the federal fund used to build and maintain roads and highways... states are looking for different ways to keep roadways safe.
Hamilton County is adding a full-time Weights & Inspections Unit... making it one of fewer than 30 counties to do so statewide. Tana Weingartner of member station WVXU in Cincinnati reports.
Hamilton County Sheriff deputy Corporal Pete Prybal has a new ride. The customized Ford F-350 looks like a suburban and comes with a pull-out rack holding the departments scales and measuring equipment. He’s had it a week and half and has already weighed 17 trucks, had 22 equipment violations and issued 26 warnings. How does that compare?
“It’s a lot more,” says Prybal. “We never had a full-time unit before so we’d have to rely on someone to get the scales to us on the scene where we got the violator at, and sometimes the scales were not available.”
Prybal says it’s important to catch violators because overweight trucks have a harder time stopping… posing a serious safety risk to other drivers.
Hamilton County Engineer Ted Hubbard meanwhile calls the truck an innovative way to help preserve roads.
“One pass of a tractor-trailer is worth about 10,000 passes of a car.”
Hubbard adds that with budget cuts and a 17 percent increase in road construction costs, something has to be done.
“That’s eating away at our budget. We have to preserve the system so we have to make sure that the vehicles that use our roadways are not overweight.”
Funding for the Weights and Inspections Unit is a bit unusual as well. Earlier this year, the Engineer’s office and the Sheriff’s Department got together to take on the program together.