July 28, 2011 in Washington Voices

New rules expected to reroute trucks out of residential areas

By The Spokesman-Review
 

The city of Spokane Valley hosted a little celebration Friday, the very day a new state law took effect that requires all livestock trucks weighing more than 40,000 pounds to stop at the Port of Entry. The city pushed for the law after residents came before the council last year to complain that heavily loaded cattle trucks from Canada were bypassing the Port of Entry and going through residential areas.

Mayor Tom Towey praised the residents, police officers and state legislators who all helped get the law passed. “This is a textbook example of what each of us can do to make a difference,” he said.

Cindy Marshall of the Spokane County Cattlemen lives off of Harvard Road. “You could sit there and watch 16 (cattle) trucks in an hour,” she said.

When Marshall complained, she was told that what the drivers were doing was not against the law. “They had nothing to go by,” she said of the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office. “This is going to help them in their enforcement.”

Notices of the new law have gone out to all the trucking companies, said Liberty Lake Police Officer Taj Wilkerson. Wilkerson is a commercial vehicle specialist and deals with the trucks that come down Harvard Road from Trent Avenue to connect to Interstate 90. “You’re going to see the compliance,” he said.

The fine for violating the new law is $1,000. It is hoped that the high fine will be enough of a deterrent that police won’t have to write many of the expensive tickets, he said. “The goal is not to go out and write a bunch of tickets,” he said.

Cpl. Bob Sola of the Sheriff’s Office, who came with the residents to speak to the City Council, said he was glad to see the new law take effect. “I think it’s a long time coming,” he said.

The new law applies to trucks hauling any type of livestock, not just cattle. The maximum allowed weight for a cattle truck is 105,500 pounds. “A lot of times they’re 107,000, 110,000,” he said. “Our main culprit is the Canadian trucks.”

Many drivers use Trent to cross from Idaho to Washington because they are either overweight, have equipment issues or are trying to conceal the fact that they have been behind the wheel too long, Sola said. Drivers are only allowed to drive for 11 hours a day. “That’s the motivation for going around the Port of Entry,” he said.


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