BUTTE COUNTY — Wilson Cemetery Road, south of Newell, will soon have weight limits following the destruction of the roadway due to gravel hauling in the area.

In recent weeks, Butte County has been dealing with damage being done to the roadway by trucks employed by Western Construction, Inc., based out of Rapid City, who are utilizing the road to haul gravel from a gravel pit on the road to Isabel.

“We insisted that we needed a haul road agreement with the operator of the gravel pit,” Kim Richards, commission chairman, said Tuesday. “Basically, they did not feel responsive that they needed one unless we could prove that we have an ordinance that required that they have a haul road agreement in place.”

Richards said the county should consider implementing an ordinance requiring this company and others using a county road to haul heavy loads to obtain a haul road agreement.

“Because there’s really nothing we could do as far as the haul road agreement at this point,” he added, meaning the county could not force the company to enter into a haul road agreement. 

The county regularly employs haul road agreements for companies who use county roads to haul all types of material. The agreement protects the county by requiring, in most circumstances, the haulers to repair and maintain the road during the duration of the usage.

“But they’re (the haulers) not only breaking our road down,” Karrol Herman, commissioner, said. “The main drag through Newell is wrecked, trashed.”

In the meantime, however, to protect the integrity of the road in question, that state law allows the county to impose weight limits on a road due to excessive traffic and weighted loads traveling upon it. 

And that is exactly what the county did Tuesday.

“Because (the hauling) totally wrecked … that road,” Richards said. “The day after we (the county highway department) graded it, it was torn up.”

He said that this is the first step.

“If they want to sign the haul road agreement and work out a deal to help us keep that road in the condition it was in before they started hauling, then we’ll take the weight limit signs off. 

The commission unanimously voted to put a 20-ton combination and 12-ton single weight limits on the approximately three-mile road, effective Monday. 

But that may be temporary.

“These signs should only be up for a week or two,” Richards said, meaning that the weight limit would hopefully force the hauling company to comply with a haul road agreement.

Richards requested that the county be ready to move forward as soon as possible with implementing an ordinance requiring haul road agreements to be in place prior to hauling on a county road.

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