Starke Officials Still Working on Proposed Truck Route Ordinance

Starke County officials are still refining a proposed truck route ordinance before scheduling a public hearing on the measure.

The measure under consideration restricts routes for vehicles with a gross weight of more than 36,000 pounds to specified county-maintained roads or highways.

Starke County Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler has outlined a plan under which all locations in the county will eventually be within a mile of either a highway or a county road paved with hot mix asphalt which can better withstand the weight of heavy vehicles.

School buses are exempt from the proposed ordinance, as are delivery trucks and farm vehicles. Over-the-road truck drivers who live on light-access roads will be able to obtain permits so they can drive their trucks home. Permits will also be available for vehicles passing through the county on county roads or participating in one-time projects like the ongoing installation of utility transmission lines south of Bass Lake. The permits will keep county officials apprised of truck traffic.

Fines ranging from $100 for a first offense to $300 for a third or subsequent violation will be levied in an attempt to enforce the policy once it takes effect. Violators may also be liable for the cost of repairs to roadways. County Attorney Marty Lucas says the idea is to encourage compliance rather than generate tickets.

Ritzler sought input from Sheriff Bill Dulin, Starke County Economic Development Foundation Executive Director Charlie Weaver, county government officials and representatives of the farming community.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story stated a public hearing would take place during the Monday, April 17 commissioners meeting. That is incorrect, and WKVI News apologies for any confusion this error may have caused.