City Already Weighing Trucks, Wheeling Looks To Do Same

With more and more heavy trucks rumbling though the city because of natural gas drilling, Cameron officials knew they needed a way to protect their streets and roads.

For $9,000 around this time last year, the city purchased a pair of portable scales that police officers use to weigh trucks they believe may be loaded over the legal weight limit.

Wheeling leaders now plan to obtain the same type of scales to help enforce weight restrictions and prevent road damage.

Cameron Police Chief Michael Younger said the program there has worked “pretty well.” He noted the weight limit for trucks on U.S. 250 is 80,000 pounds, with the limit for side roads set at 65,000 pounds. Fines for exceeding limits range from $500 to $1,000.

“We had a lot of heavy trucks coming in from the well activity. They were causing a lot of damage,” Younger said.

Younger said he stopped and fined one truck driver recently for operating a truck weighing in at a robust 119,000 pounds on a road with a 65,000-pound limit.

“The scales have helped out a good bit,” he said. “But most of the companies just pay the fine and move on.”

Therefore, Younger noted, the West Virginia Division of Highways and Department of Environmental Protection could provide communities like Cameron some additional help.

“They could increase the fines. But even more than that, they should be more careful about where they issue the permits for work,” he said, noting some permits take trucks out onto roads that simply cannot accommodate the massive vehicles.

Like Cameron, Wheeling soon will be dealing with natural gas drilling trucks traveling up and down its roads.

Wheeling Police Chief Robert Matheny said during a recent Public Safety Committee meeting that most of the trucks will be tankers carrying briny wastewater used in the drilling process.

Wheeling leaders are now considering a plan to spend the $9,000 to acquire the scales to weigh heavy trucks as a means to maintain safety and deter damage.

Associate City Editor Heather Ziegler contributed to this report.