Truck weight limit enforcement launched

Published: Fri, June 13, 2014 @ 12:04 a.m.

By Peter H. Milliken


Mahoning County commissioners approved an 18-month agreement between the county engineer’s and sheriff’s offices to enforce truck weight limits on county roads.

The agreement, approved Thursday and taking effect July 1, is designed to prevent the premature wear and damage to roads caused by overweight trucks.

The engineer’s office will provide a vehicle and equipment, including portable scales, that a trained full-time sheriff’s deputy will use in the enforcement effort.

The engineer’s office is funding the program, including the deputy’s salary, with $79,366 derived from gasoline-tax and license- plate fee revenues.

“We’re not trying to be hard on truckers, obviously. We just want to make sure that they’re running on the proper routes so that our roads don’t break down,” Sheriff Jerry Greene told the commissioners.

The days, hours and locations of the enforcement effort, which was last performed by the sheriff’s office almost 20 years ago, will not be announced in advance, Greene said.

Weight limits vary on county roads, depending on loads bridges can safely support and on the number of axles on the truck.

Truckers planning to exceed weight, height, length or width limits must obtain a permit from the engineer’s office.

The commissioners also approved the use of $20,000 from the county’s hotel bed tax as a sponsorship grant for Eric Ryan Productions for the Downtown Jazz Fest in Central Square on July 12 in conjunction with the annual Summer Festival of the Arts.

A major jazz recording artist is scheduled to perform, but Linda Macala, county convention and visitors’ bureau director, declined to identify that performer until a contract is signed. There will be regional opening acts and food vendors at the festival.

CVB and the city are sponsoring the event, which likely will begin about 6:30 p.m., Macala said.

The $20,000 will be used to pay for entertainers’ fees and lighting and sound-system costs.

Eric Barrett, agriculture agent with the county extension office in Canfield, told commissioners the recently released 2012 U.S. Census of Agriculture reveals that Mahoning County has 578 farms, whose annual sales collectively total $41 million.

“One in seven Ohioans is employed in agriculture. It’s still our No. 1 industry and actually growing from the last agriculture census in 2007,” he said.

Dr. Joseph Ohr, forensic pathologist and deputy coroner, told the commissioners he was “irritated” that onlookers took and posted on Facebook graphic cellphone photos after the Tuesday accident in the Cornersburg Sparkle Market parking lot, in which Loretta Ann Lewis, 69, of Canfield, was pinned under a car and died instantly.

“This is undignified. This is disrespectful. This is low-class and ignorant,” Dr. Ohr complained.

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