Trucks costing taxpayers' road budget
POSTED: Thursday, October 8, 2009 - 3:31pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, March 17, 2010 - 12:02pm
SMITH COUNTY — Dashboard-rutted roads, they're all over East Texas and taxpayers have to pay to fix them. One constable tells us, those doing the most damage don't even live here.
These bumps and ruts are not made by passing cars. Authorities tell us, it takes more than 30 thousand pounds to tear up roads like these and these roads are not made for that type of beating.
By the truck load, thousands of pounds in cargo travel through East Texas. Even on these smaller county roads meant for rural traffic.
"Our county roads look like somebody took a farm plow and just plowed it up," says Constable Andy Dunklin, Smith County Precinct 2.
The ripples of rock aren't just a pain for drivers; it's a huge expense. Constable Dunklin says, they take a big chunk of the taxpayer's budget.
"We're seeing logging trucks, oilfield equipment, dump trucks hauling out of sand pits, plowing up the county roads," Dunklin says.
Now—these lawmen are doing something about it. They're making random stops on county roads, making sure trucks rolling through are the right weight and have a permit to be there.
"Our county roads are not designed to be farm roads and not designed to be interstate roads," Dunklin says.
Drivers say it's out of their hands. Companies they contract with determine weight of the load and, if a driver gets a ticket for a heavy or illegal load, the driver has to pay.
The company pays no penalty. If one of the constable's deputies catches a truck violating the law in Precinct Two, they could get up to $500 in fines.