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“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. "MDOT Chief Willie Huff has received complaints about trucks coming into elevators weighing 100,000 to 120,000 pounds, and he is stressing that we’re going to focus on these overweight trucks."
THIS BRIDGE collapse in Mississippi, caused by an overweight truck ignoring posted limits, was “very costly” to the truck owner and its driver, Mississippi transportation officials say.
Most of the bridges that are posted with weight limits are anywhere from 40 years to 70 years old, he says. “Many of these were built with wooden pilings that are in various stages of decay. They need to be replaced, but in today’s economy we can’t get the money to replace all of them — it just has to be done on a piecemeal basis as money is made available by the legislature.
“Three years ago, we had 400-plus posted bridges in the state, and we asked the legislature for $300 million for bridge upgrades, but with a very tight state budget we got $100 million. In many cases, all the state can do is try to keep the bridges repaired and keep them posted for weight limits in order to try and avoid damage.
“For most of them, it’s an ongoing maintenance/repair situation. The inspection process is ongoing and bridges are posted on the basis of those findings, and posted limits are changed as the condition of the bridge changes.”
In one instance, Hopper says, vandals used a cutting torch to remove sections of steel bridge supports. “It was so damaged, it’s a wonder the bridge was still standing. People also take down the posted signs, but the weight limits still apply, so it’s advisable that you check all the bridges on the roads you’ll be traveling.
“If one of your trucks should cause a bridge to fall in, there could be injuries or even deaths, not to mention long-term inconvenience to people traveling in the area daily. Your liability could be enormous.”
A few years back, Hopper says, an old bridge over a river collapsed from an overweight log truck. “Thankfully, there were no injuries, but it was a major inconvenience to people traveling in that area — and it was very costly to the owner of the truck and the driver.”
Out-of-state trucks operating in Mississippi must have an apportioned tag from their home state, he says; if not, they must have a three-day permit or a temporary Mississippi tag, which can be for three months or six months.
“This works well for people coming in and doing custom harvesting over an extended period. They also need to buy fuel in the state and pay taxes in the state. We will be checking to be sure they’re buying fuel in the state. Drivers must also have a CDL and trucks must be properly insurance. Violations could delay delivery of your products and increase roundtrip times.”