With corn and soybean harvest getting under way in Mississippi, officials with the Mississippi Department of Transportation are warning that grain trucks will be under close scrutiny for overweight loads.

“We’ve had a lot of calls about overweight trucks running in and out of grain elevators all over the Delta and damaging state and county roads,” says Maj. Dennis Hopper, MDOT Office of Enforcement at Batesville, Miss., who spoke at the joint annual meeting of the Southern Cotton Ginners Association and the Delta Council Ginning and Cotton Quality Committee.

“MDOT Chief Willie Huff has received complaints about trucks coming into elevators weighing 100,000 to 120,000 pounds. During one recent check, our officers wrote 10 or 12 overweight tickets, which would indicate there is quite a bit of this going on.”

The last three years, Hopper says, MDOT officers have concentrated on enforcement of posted bridge weight limits during harvest season, “but this year Chief Huff is stressing that we’re going to focus on these overweight trucks.

“We are going to be working closely with farmers and contract haulers, and we hope they will work with us to comply with the weight restrictions on state roads in the Delta, and posted weight limits on county roads as well.” Hopper says farmers and truckers need to be aware of all the regulations related to transportation of crops on the state’s roads, including posted weights for bridges and roads, as well as permits needed for operating vehicles in the state, and regulations pertaining to dyed fuel.

“We now have about 230 posted bridges throughout Mississippi  on state highways — and that doesn’t count county or city roads that may be posted. The Batesville district that I work has 110 posted bridges and the Tupelo district has about 50 — about two-thirds of the state’s total.

“Our officers are out working these areas, and if you see them sitting by a posted bridge and you’re overweight, they may write a warning ticket the first time, but if it’s a serious violation they can write you a court ticket.”

All posted bridges can be checked online at the agency’s website, Hopper notes. “You can go to gomdot.com and click on the ‘Posted Bridges’ link and and it will give you all the information about that bridge, including location, bridge ID number, truck weight limit and limits per axle — tandem, single, etc. Or you can telephone our offices anywhere in the state and we’ll try and help you any way we can. The website is updated at least weekly, sometimes daily, as conditions change for these bridges.”