As a follow up to Issue No. 3 “Understanding the Importance of Weight Limit Signs”, one of the municipalities sent an email asking “How do we know when a truck is overweight that is crossing one of our weight restricted bridges?” Good question.
As with any regulatory sign, whether it be a posted speed limit along a roadway or a weight restriction at a bridge, it is the responsibility of the vehicle user to follow the law. In any case, the user should know their vehicle weight, especially if they are a user of a large truck hauling material. Most truck drivers know their vehicle weights and follow the weight limit restrictions on bridges and roads.
As a bridge owner, it is sometimes difficult to know if a vehicle is illegally crossing your structure or not. It’s more obvious if the bridge is weight restricted to 5 tons and a large dump truck crosses over it (definitely illegal). It is more difficult when the weight restriction is much higher and dump trucks with no load are legal to cross, but illegal if loaded. If an owner believes there is abuse occurring by a local hauler, the simplest thing to do might be to give the local hauler a call and discuss the potential issue. A bridge owner always has the option to notify the state police and have them watch for overweight vehicles if there is a recurring incident. Remember, enforcement of a weight restriction is only enforceable if weight limit signs are installed in each location.