Enforce large truck rules

Perhaps village officials in Belmont can solve two problems at once.

One challenge, as outlined during a village council meeting earlier this month, is repairing some badly damaged streets and roads in Belmont. Much of the damage was caused by oil and gas industry trucks, it was stated during the meeting.

So far, only one of those oil and gas companies has responded to letters seeking help in making repairs, Mayor Stan Sobel said. Good for EQT for their officials’ attitude.

EQT, having purchased Rice Energy, operates several well pads close to the village. It also has a field office in the center of town, so it makes sense for that company to come to the community’s aid.

But another concern is trucks using streets from which such vehicles have been banned. Some of the trucks have run onto Belmont residents’ yards, damaging them.

In many of these cases, trucks using the wrong streets have caused additional headaches. Not only have they damaged private property, but they also have become stuck, causing lengthy traffic delays.

Village leaders have reacted by placing large, easily visible signs throughout the community warning drivers to stay off of some streets. If village ordinances prohibit use of some streets by large trucks — and the bans are noted on prominently posted signs — why not step up enforcement of the rules?

Why not impose fines on the drivers and/or trucking companies involved?

That could net a substantial amount of money for use in repairing roads and streets.

Eastern Ohio residents have welcomed the energy industry with open arms. But there has to be some reciprocation in the form of taking responsibility for damage to roads. EQT officials seem to understand that.

As for the other firms, Belmont may be a good place for local officials to make the companies’ responsibilities clear by requiring that village limits on large trucks be obeyed.