County considers what to do about road damage done by trucks

Published 12:03 am Tuesday, September 5, 2017


NATCHEZ — Supervisors for several meetings have been discussing how to stop 18-wheelers from tearing up neighborhood roads.

When truck drivers who live in Natchez park their vehicles at truck stops and leave them over night, the trucks are being burglarized, Adams County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Charlie Sims said at a previous supervisors meeting.

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Supervisors Ricky Gray and Calvin Butler said they did not have a problem with the trucks themselves being parked at a driver’s residence.

However, people carrying heavy loads to park at residences is contributing to roads being torn up in their districts.

Sims also said enforcement is tough because the sheriff’s office has to depend on the Mississippi Department of Transportation to weigh the vehicles.

Gray said if the sheriff’s office cannot enforce the road weight limits, then it doesn’t do much good to put the signs up.

“Putting the sign up without a way to weigh the truck is not helping the situation, as they are just parking wherever they want to park,” Gray said. “We need to come up with a plan where we can alleviate this problem. If we can’t, we need to tell the people … there ain’t nothing we can do about it.”

County Engineer Jim Marlow recommended researching whether to enact an ordinance that banned 18-wheeler trucks and other heavy-duty vehicles on county neighborhood roads. Marlow said garbage trucks, school buses and other trucks in emergency situations would have to be excluded from the ordinance.

Supervisors President Mike Lazarus said a neighborhood ordinance would fix the enforcement problem. However, Lazarus said truck drivers and the people who own the trucks would fight it.

“People are bringing the trucks home so no one can steal the batteries or diesel out of them,” Lazarus said. “But we could enact an ordinance and stop it all from happening.”

Gray said if batteries and diesel were the big concerns, they could take the truck to their residence and leave the load elsewhere.

While District 3 Supervisor Angela Hutchins said she was concerned about Duck Pond Road being torn up by trucks, she also acknowledged the trucks are people’s livelihood.

Lazarus said the truck driver’s are responsible for the loads and leaving them elsewhere could present challenges.

County Administrator Joe Murray said another option would be have the truck drivers become bonded for the roads, so that if the trucks did tear up the road, the drivers would be responsible for paying.

The supervisors have not taken any action on a potential ordinance. Adams County Board Attorney Scott Slover said an ordinance like this is not something the supervisors could enact quickly, and he suggested more debate, such as asking leaders of other counties how they handle this issue.

The issue of weight limits being ignored got some attention last week when the Artman Road bridge collapsed with a loaded dump truck, weighing perhaps 50,000 pounds, on top of it. The bridge had a weight limit of 8,000 pounds.