Oversized loads targeted

ADIZ – The monthly oil and gas safety meeting was held Monday in the Puskarich Public Library during which law enforcement issued a warning to oversized loads traveling in Harrison County.

Harrison County Sheriff Joe Myers and Lt. Joseph Fetty, Ohio State Highway Patrol (OHSP) both attended a meeting in Columbus with Jeff Honefanger, Title Manager, Special Hauling Permits Section at the Ohio Department of Transportation. The pair discussed a plan which would change ODOT policy and require notification of the county manager of oversized loads coming into the county.

“They really did not like that idea,” Sheriff Myers explained. “However they may consider notifying the county sheriff of these big loads which are permitted for roads in our county.”

The sheriff questioned the methods of the permitting office, “I know they have formulas they use to choose these routes, but I feel that they are not real world.”

“The OHSP has a new policy for escorting these oversized loads,” Lt. Fetty said. “If a load is coming in without county permits we don’t move you.”

The lieutenant explained that in Ohio it was not state law for permits to be written documents, “They can be granted verbally, but in Harrison County they are required to carry a copy of the written permit for the load from the county and we will be enforcing that.”

Lt. Fetty noted that while the state issues permits for designated routes it is the trucking company which is responsible for checking the route to ensure the load can be driven over those roads.

“We had new guard rail up on the 646 and 250 intersection for one week before a load which did not have an articulated rear axle took out the new section trying to make the turn,” Fetty added. “In addition we had two loads which the patrol were escorting that had to have tow trucks called in to left the trailers over so that they could make turns.”

“These incidents are and added expense for the state and the trucking companies and cause traffic issues and delays,” Lt. Fetty explained. “It is very important that your drivers scout these routes and get ahold of the county engineer before attempting to haul these loads.”

The lieutenant also explained that while the routes are covered by road use and maintenance agreements that there are hidden items in the local infrastructure citing as an example some some culverts on the county routes could have significantly less weight limits.

“I do not want to see the infrastructure we have worked so hard to build torn up by oil and gas traffic,” Myers said. “We are stressing that all of these moves be done correctly.”

Lt. Fetty also noted that regulations for moving over-sized loads carrying dozers are required to have blade guards in place during the move, “In addition, any mover over 25 miles requires removing the blade.”

“We are getting so many complaints about these illegal moves,” Myers said. “We are just asking if these companies would just take that little bit of time to do it right and transport these loads in the safest way possible.”

Lt. Fetty also confirmed that no oversized loads will be permitted on state highways over the Labor Day Holiday weekend, Friday through Tuesday.

“We are scheduling high visibility hours and extra patrols in the area for the holiday weekend,” Lt. Fetty added.

Myers asked that local companies note that school is back in session and avoid hauling on bus routes during morning and afternoon travel times.

The sheriff also added that the Village of Cadiz was in the process of placing a new stop sign at the intersection of Industrial Park Rd. and the Grant St. extension.

“The sign will be make the intersection a three-way stop,” Myers said. “This is only for traffic coming from 22, the traffic coming from the ball park will not have a stop sign.”

The village still has two readings before passing the ordinance and the sign is expected to be in place by mid-October.

The next meeting will be held Sept. 29 at 10 a.m. in the Cadiz library.

Palmer may be reached at mpalmer@timesleaderonline.com