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Woolwich sticks with half-load restrictions on roads

Faced with an unprecedented number of requests for exemptions from the township’s springtime load limits, Woolwich is sticking to its policy, granting no exceptions.

Meeting Tuesday night, Woolwich councillors appeared to have some sympathy for at least one of the requests, but ultimately sided with staff’s position.

Director of infrastructure services Jared Puppe, who noted the township had received more than half a dozen requests this year, argued the prohibition against heavy trucks on certain roads during the spring thaw is needed to protect the integrity of the roads.

The reduced-load season restricts heavily loaded vehicles – defined as more than five tonnes per axle – from using certain posted roads during what is known as the “spring breakup” period when the road base is soft and prone to deterioration under stress, he explained.

Between March 1 and April 30 each year, larger trucks typically have to reduce the size of the load to conform with the bylaw, a common practice in other municipalities as well.

Puppe noted that the damage from heavy trucks is exponential: a truck twice as heavy does 16 times more damage to a road that still hasn’t dried out from the spring thaw.

Councillors upheld the policy, but seem to waver over the request from Stacy Frey, who was looking for an exemption to allow fully loaded concrete trucks to access his New Jerusalem Road farm as he rushed to rebuild a silo, destroyed last year by fire, in time to store the first crop of the year. The job would require 26 normal truckloads, but 120 if the weight restrictions remain, he said.

Though backing the staff position in a split vote, councillors gave some indication they may reconsider in this case.

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