Load restrictions may lighten
The price of maintaining halfload restrictions in Norfolk County could be increasing requests for exemptions to the same.
The former Township of Delhi imposed half-load restrictions on many concession roads prior to the formation of the new Norfolk County.
While it has been anything-goes in most other parts of the county, the half-load restrictions were never reviewed in the former Township of Delhi until now.
Norfolk public works intends to present a report by the end of the year designating which county roads need a weight restriction in spring. Lee Robinson, Norfolk’s general manager of public works, has told council weight restrictions will be removed from some roads.
Meanwhile, some farmers in the former Township of Delhi are chomping at the bit.
Last week, Harmony Road apple farmer Chris Hedges served notice he will seek an exemption to the bylaw next January if the load restriction isn’t lifted on Harmony Road in the area of Highway 24.
Hedges grows about 250 acres of apples north of Simcoe. He is building a climate- and atmosphere-controlled storage facility on Harmony Road. Hedges told Norfolk council last week that load restrictions in March and April are an impediment to the smooth operation of his apple business.
Hedges added the load restrictions are somewhat pointless.
The restrictions forbid trucks from loading more than five tonnes per axle in circumstances where 10 tonnes is normal. Hedges pointed out that farmers can bypass the restriction if they move everything by tractor and wagon.
Some on Norfolk council are sympathetic.
“Everything is overweight these days,” Waterford Coun. Harold Sonnenberg said. “Why do we continue to conduct business with these archaic weight restrictions? They need to be reviewed.”
Delhi Coun. Mike Columbus countered that these restrictions have served his ward well. Columbus noted there are concession roads in the Port Dover-Waterford area that never had weight restrictions and which are in much worse shape that country roads in the former Township of Delhi.
Lee Robinson, Norfolk’s general manager of public works, says some roads with weight restrictions don’t need them. Conversely, there are rural roads elsewhere that would benefit from them.
Robinson says this is something the county needs to sort out. Some heating oil companies are needlessly lightening up their trucks before making deliveries to customers in the half-load zone.
“It has nothing to do with what’s up top,” Robinson said. “It has to do with the road base.”
Norfolk public works will deal with Hedges’ situation individually if – for whatever reason – it is unable to complete its comprehensive review by the end of next January. As such, Hedges’ request has been earmarked as a priority “action item.”
Large trucks in Norfolk normally carry about 10 tonnes per axle. The former Township of Delhi adopted half-load restrictions as a means of easing wear and tear on roads while the frost is coming out of the ground.
Norfolk’s public works department is reviewing all rural roads in the county to determine which ones need weight restrictions in spring and which ones don’t. As it stands, the only rural roads posted with this signage are in the former Township of Delhi.