Vehicle overloads

PERRYSBURG – Perrysburg Township may join communities that could throw their collective weight behind an
effort to enforce limits on overloaded vehicles.
Trustee Gary Britten said at Monday’s board meeting that the Wood County Township Association will
discuss at its winter meeting whether a majority of communities would support weighing vehicles and
issuing fines for over-limit violations. He said trustees from a handful of townships have been meeting
periodically with the Wood County sheriff about options for addressing damaged roads. Now, the sheriff
is asking mayors and trustees to come to a consensus on whether they would like to investigate the
possibility of forming a scale enforcement team. (Photo: A semi truck passes through the intersection of
3rd St and E St in Perrysburg Township. (Photo: Aaron Carpenter/Sentinel-Tribune))
"There’s a lot of things to look into yet, but we thought the first step would probably be getting
the support of all the townships," Britten said.
Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn said most of the overloading issues are occurring in the south and southwest part
of the county, especially around the CSX intermodal project in Jackson Township. He said the Ohio
Highway Patrol scale team recently worked with deputies in the area and found "some very gross
violations." One truck that attempted to bypass I-75 to avoid the scales weighed about 124,000
pounds, he said.
Weight limits are based on the number of axles, but the sheriff said an average semi should weigh about
80,000 pounds. Without its own scale and trained scale team, county law enforcement has only limited
options for enforcing overloads.
"The two issues are how badly it tears up roads and how dangerous it is when (overloaded vehicles)
go over bridges," Wasylyshyn said.
If township trustees and mayors desire a scale team, the sheriff said, the next step would be to contact
the Wood County engineer because funding for a scale would come from that office. The sheriff said he
understood that fines resulting from enforcement on county roads would go to the engineer’s budget.
Similarly, a percentage of fines for violations on township, city or village roads would likely go to
the appropriate municipality. The sheriff has yet to obtain a firm estimate on the cost of scales.
Under the Ohio Revised Code, a scale team would operate under the county sheriff’s office.
Perrysburg township officials are warm to this idea.
"If I’ve been here eight years, I’ve heard at least eight years worth of complaints about overweight
trucks," Trustee Bob Mack said at the meeting.
Administrator John Hrosko said later this week that the township would likely participate in an effort to
obtain scales for enforcement. "It saves the life of the road," he said. "It really
Britten said when reached later for comment that the township has had a number of problems with damaged
roads, specifically Lime City Road, Tracy Court and Oregon Road. He said much of the road stress may be
due to transportation from the township’s two rock quarries and a trucking firm – although, without
scales, the township cannot be sure to what extent vehicles are causing damage.
Police Chief Ed Stribrny said at the board meeting that he was concerned about how enforcement would
affect the farming community and that, should the county form a scale team, the sheriff’s office would
need to provide education on weight regulations.
According to Wasylyshym, education would be a significant component of any potential enforcement program.
Regarding agricultural vehicles, the sheriff said some farmers follow the weight limits but others
continue to load up in excess of regulations.
John Stewart, a Henry Township trustee and secretary treasurer for the WCTA, said dairy operation traffic
in Jackson Township is harming Cygnet Road and stressing bridges. He said roads in the area that have
been traversed many years "have never been torn up the way they’re torn up right now." He said
some of the roads, at times, could not be traveled upon due to the damage.
Stewart said the township association would like to work with the dairy drivers to come to an agreement
about vehicle weight and using alternate routes. He added that Henry Township has seen its share of
damage too, but that contractors for CSX repaired the roads at the company’s own expense.
Britten, also the county road superintendent, said Williams County purchased scales and paid off the
expense through fines within the first 10 months of enforcement.
Wasylyshyn said he would meet with communities again in December to review questions and discuss
available scenarios, including options other than obtaining scales, to allow enforcement on overload