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Paynesville Press - July 21, 2004

Township to post seven-ton limit on new roads

By Michael Jacobson

Paynesville Township will post a seven-ton limit on new roads in the township - roads built in new developments - and will ask contractors and subcontractors to abide by these limits.

The township board approved a new attachment to its site permit, asking for the name of the property owner, the general contractor, and any subcontractors and informing them of the seven-ton limit on new roads in the township.

The township requires that developers build seven-ton roads before the township takes over the road, agreeing to maintain it, plow snow from it, etc. The site permit attachment is an effort to inform contractors of the limit and get their cooperation in limiting loads on the new roads.

The township hopes to avoid damaging the new roads by avoiding heavier loads on them. If the township builds seven-ton roads and allows heavier loads, then the township could end up having to pay for repairs to the blacktop, said chairman Don Pietsch on Monday, July 12, when the township board voted for the attachment.

Or the township would need to consider not taking over the roads - and not providing snowplowing - until all houses in a new development are built. But sometimes it takes years for a development to be completely filled with homes.

Four local contractors attended the township meeting last week. While agreeing to abide by the seven-ton limit on new roads - though it will require more smaller loads instead of fewer heavier loads - their main concern was having a fair playing field for doing business.

The contractors did not want to lose bids because they followed the seven-ton limit while the winning bidder did not. Nor did they want contractors to unknowingly bid a project figuring on heavier loads and then lose money when they had to make smaller loads.

The purpose of the attachment to township site permits is to inform contractors of the seven-ton limit.

Contractors also asked the township to post the new roads with seven-ton-limit signs.

"Make sure everyone follows the same rules I do," said local contractor Jim Gabrielson, also a township resident. "Do what you can to keep things fair."

Gabrielson also suggested that the township board insures that roads are actually built to the township standards, possibly with testing.

Both the contractors and the township board members expressed doubts about policing the seven-ton limit on new roads, just the ones in new developments. With more development expected, the township wants to solve this potential problem through cooperation.

Another local contractor Mike Glenz, also a township resident, suggested that it might be easier for the township board - and for contractors - if the township requires developers to build nine-ton roads, which would eliminate this problem. The added expense to developers - and to lot buyers - would be worth it in the end with a better road, he said.

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