Starke County Highway Superintendent Discusses Heavy Truck Ordinance

Starke County Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler hopes to present a first draft of a proposed heavy truck ordinance for county roads to the commissioners at their April 3 meeting. He’s working with a committee to draft a plan to outline a system of hot mix truck routes for the county. The goal is to have an accessible route within one to two miles of anywhere. Ritzler says doing so will preserve the county roads.

Starke County currently has a frost law on the books. It restricts truck traffic on county roads during cold weather. Ritzler says the proposed truck routes would have more strict, uniform penalties.

“If somebody’s excessively doing this, we’ll have a system of fines and other things that we can work with the sheriff’s department to do that,” he told the commissioners Monday night.

“Right now with the frost law there’s really no enforcement to it, very little enforcement. We’re going to beef that up a little bit and probably supersede the frost law. This will be an all year round thing. We won’t have to put up the signs each year, so this will be enforceable all year round.”

Ritzler says the proposed truck route ordinance represents a significant commitment for the county.

“This will take about 15 years to do. Once this is done, it can be maintained much easier. It’s much easier to maintain hot mix roads than it is to initially pave them. I think we can do it, and I think it will be a good thing.”

There are currently 13 miles of hot mix roads in the county. Ritzler’s long-term goal is 75 within the next 15 years.