OLYMPIA - Inspections of Thurston County roads have been stepped up as weight restrictions continue for roadways in the unincorporated areas. The restrictions were put in place today (Thursday) to help prevent damage to roads as they thaw from recent weeks of freezing temperatures. Thurston County Public Works Director Donavan Willcutt says the restrictions will be lifted as soon as inspections show it is logical to do so. "We are sorry for the inconvenience, but the weight restrictions will help prevent what could be significant damage to the public right of way." The restrictions are a way to protect the taxpayer's investment in county road infrastructure.-30-
Public Works officials say there could be hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage up to millions if heavy trucks were allowed to use the roads before they are completely thawed. The problem comes as the roadway thaws from the pavement down and pressure from heavy loads pushes on the spongy road bed. The result can be severe cracking of the roadway, slippage of the pavement, pot holes and other damage. "This can also be a public safety issue," says Roads Deputy Norm Wold "as vehicles can hit the pot holes or broken pavement."
Delivery of life sustaining items such as propane or home fuel is still allowed under the restrictions. Companies delivering these and certain other perishable or critical products can continue deliveries, although they may have to carry reduced loads.
The weight restrictions in Thurston County are currently scheduled to be in place through the weekend. If inspections show thawing earlier, some or all roads may be reopened earlier.
Similar weight restrictions are in place in Mason and Grays Harbor Counties.