Three things have been for sure in Gardner this year: bad weather, pot holes and increased truck traffic.
In August 2013 public officials’ projection was 15,000 trucks daily with 85 percent headed north. That number has only increased.
“Trucks, due to their weight, cause more damage to the roadway than cars. However, the roadway (56 Hwy) has seen very little improvements: a mill and concrete inlay, and on two separate occasions full depth patching (2002 and 2012),” said Michael Kramer, Gardner department of public works.
Old 56 is maintained by the state. The maximum gross weight allowed on Kansas interstate highways is 80,000 pounds. The maximum gross weight allowed elsewhere in Kansas, without a permit, is 85,500 pounds.(US-56).
Kramer recently told the Gardner council he was applying for a grant from the Kansas Department of Transportation with funding applications which will include full reconstruction of US-56 – including removal and replacement of the pavement from Sycamore St. east to Moonlight.
Kansas issues heavy haul permits; the state and local authorities then do the policing. Gardner does not, although as early as September, 2012, Dave Drovetta, then mayor, and Chris Morrow, then councilman, suggested looking into portable weigh scales. The possibility of issuing heavy haul permits to help cover the cost of street maintenance was discussed.
Portable scales were eventually purchased by Gardner in 2015. At that time Gardner police reported about 40 percent of trucks inspected were placed out of service due to violations, and in 2015 about 275 violations of different types were noted. At that time, Gardner had three certified inspectors, and one citywide truck inspection event was done annually.
Purchasing the scales in 2015 also helped maintain the structural integrity of roadways by removing unsafe or overweight vehicles from the road, GPD reported then.
Currently GPD has four CVSA officers, but one is not yet scale certified. One officer was certified last year, but because he is working the highway weigh station with Kansas Highway Patrol, citations issued do not go thru GPD.
“The other two have noted at least 13 weight-related violations during their inspections,” said Sgt. Steve Benz, GPD. But only nine citations were issued in Gardner. Others involved multiple issues and were submitted to the state.
Listed citations include:
2016 – 1 for $610;
2017 – 7 for total of $3,800;
2018 – 1 for $250;
According to city ordinance: “Weight/Size Fines – Weight violation up to first 1000 lbs. is $50 then add .10 per pound for weight over 1000 lbs. Height, length, or width over limit is $30 plus $1 per inch over the limit. For two or more violations of weight or size within two years the applicable fine amount will be doubled.”
Many truck stops are made for reasons other than weight. While the scales are used frequently to obtain weights for overweight tickets, they are not solely used for this purpose and are used regularly. The CVSA officers are sometimes required to obtain a GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating) to justify an inspection or substantiate any number of violations and safety regulations, Benz said.
“Safety inspections on commercial vehicles are done for a variety of reasons, and are initiated by our specially trained officers potentially on any commercial vehicle they encounter,” said Benz. “Tires, brakes, windshields, cargo seals, placards, size, weight, are all possible reasons for concern, as well as many others. But they are trained to observe indicators of a commercial vehicle that may be overweight. ”
Truck inspections are conducted by Gardner PD CVSA officers as time and weather permits, as well as during predetermined commercial vehicle inspection operations. These are sometimes conducted as part of a multi-agency operation and happens at various times of the year.