Road bans solve one problem, only to create another

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

Spring weight limits on municipal roads are a matter of course; they are imposed to save roads. Everybody knows that, but knowing it doesn’t mean it doesn’t cause some hardship.
M.D. of Lesser Slave River council heard a bit about this at is Mar. 29 meeting.
“Road bans are a big concern in our area,” said Flatbush-area councillor Robert Esau. He went on to explain that grain producers have had a tough year. Various factors are involved, but what it comes down to is they’ll need to be hauling on short notice, and it isn’t always possible to get special haul permission from the M.D. on short notice.
“We have an industry that is very fragile,” he said. “They need leeway.”
On the other side of the coin is the potential damage to M.D. roads when they are wet. Road bans are a common and accepted solution to this threat. The M.D. had just slapped an emergency ban on the West Fawcett Road in order to save it.
“It’s a difficult one,” said councillor Mike Skrynyk. “Our roads will get destroyed if we run heavy loads on them now. We can’t afford to rebuild them.” Esau said the grain farmers in question want very much to abide by the law. “They’re asking for help and direction,” he said.
M.D. transportation director Bill Klassen pointed out that the regular road ban is 75 per cent, but there is a 90 per cent exemption for farmers. And there are special exemptions on top of that. “The Flatbush people have been really good,” he said.
There is an after-hours number people can call regarding road bans. It’s 1-877-236-6445.

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