Mayor to explore issue of trucks bypassing scales
By Stephanie Waddell on April 20, 2010 at 3:32 pm
Mayor Bev Buckway will be drafting a letter to the Yukon government questioning whether there’s a problem with commercial trucks bypassing the weigh scales on the
Alaska Highway in favour of the Hamilton Boulevard extension.
At Monday evening’s city council meeting, Buckway noted a report of alleged attempts by trucks using the boulevard extension to avoid the Alaska Highway’s weigh scales.
She obtained the agreement of the rest of council to draft a letter to the government inquiring about the matter.
The issue, she explained in an interview following the meeting, came from an open letter to Community Services Minister Archie Lang published in Monday’s Star.
In the letter, Larry McKay recalled his experience of seeing two trucks overloaded with “junk vehicles and parts of vehicles”.
One of the vehicles being transported lost its driveshaft and punctured the gas tank, leaking fuel onto the road, McKay wrote.
“It was clear to me that these trucks were taking that route to avoid going by the scales,” he wrote.
McKay reported the incident to a staff member at the highway scales. The worker informed McKay that while he was aware of the situation, there was nothing he could do because he couldn’t go on his own and there was no one there to go with him to deal with the problem.
That left McKay with numerous questions. They included why such vehicles are permitted to drive through residential areas as these did before going on to the extension; why highway enforcement officers aren’t able to deal with the situation and enforce any laws that may have been broken; and whether there are indeed any laws to prevent it.
”Do we not have hazardous goods transportation routes?” he asked in his letter.
That left Buckway with a number of questions too.
She first wants to get a sense of whether this is indeed an ongoing problem or an isolated incident, and if there have been numerous complaints going to the government on the matter.
Her office hasn’t received any calls about the issue, but that’s not to say they haven’t been coming into the territory’s offices, she suggested.
When roads like the Hamilton Boulevard extension – a project that involved both the city and territory – are developed, officials often don’t consider possibilities like this, she said.
If there is a problem, thy mayor would like to look at possible solutions. While she said she doesn’t know exactly what those might be, in the short term, it might mean more road signage for commercial traffic or other measures.
In time, she said, it could raise the question of whether there’s a need to move the scales, which used to be located on the highway just north of Two Mile Hill.
“It’s more of an environmental issue,” she said, when asked about the impact to city roads.
If a truck is carrying hazardous waste, she added, it’s important they check in at the scales to ensure everything is loaded properly and safely.
“There’s (also) definitely more wear and tear on the roads,” she added, again stressing that this was an “alleged” incident and there may be only a few such situations, or it could be a larger problem.
Buckway said the letter will likely be written within the next week or two.
Meanwhile, Jennifer Magnuson, a spokeswoman for the Department of Highways and Public Works, said the government has received no complaints directly on the matter; though inquiries are underway to look at whether there are any such problems facing weigh scale staff.
She noted as well that municipalities have jurisdiction over roads in their communities and the RCMP have the authority to enforce regulations on heavy loads, commercial transport and other such legislation.