Local News

Study: Big Rigs Leave Behind Large Road Repair Bill

Posted February 22, 2006

— Ripped-up roads and crumbling bridges are among the problems left behind when big-rigs travel on North Carolina highways. Big trucks cost taxpayers $77 million a year in road repairs. That price tag came out as the Department of Transportation detailed problems to lawmakers asking for answers.

Members of the Transportation Oversight Committee in the State Legislature wanted to know how much damage overweight trucks are doing to North Carolina roads. Engineers analyzed truck logs, pavement assessments, and load weight data. They loaded it all into a computer model and came up with the $77 million damage estimate.

"There are a lot of assumptions in this report that I'm not sure are totally accurate," said Sen. Neal Hunt (R) of Wake County. "But the bottom line is, we do have a problem with overweight trucks."

  • Read The Study:

    DOT Analysis Of Overweight Trucks

    The committee had a lot of questions for the DOT's lead man on the report; engineer Lacy Love, who said there are no easy answers to big trucks and major road damage.

    "Trucks provide a valuable resource to the state moving goods and services, so it's a balancing act between economics and the preservation of our road system," said Love.

    Cars and trucks put stress on our roads, but the DOT said the focus needs to stay on trucks, because the stress ratio is overwhelming. It takes 5,000 car passes over a section of road to equal the stress of one fully loaded tractor-trailer axle. Most of the trucks traveling on the Beltline have five axles.

    Many industries get weight limit exemptions. Legislators say some of those could be repealed. But the biggest question is money. It'll take millions to repair roads and set up a system to trim truck tonnage.

    The report is out, and the big truck issue is parked right in front of the Legislature. Transportation Oversight Committee members said they may ask the DOT for another road damage assessment before they move on legislation.

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