OSWEGO – Labette County law enforcement and road personnel are investigating trucks that may be illegally driving on roads in the north part of the county to service wind turbine sites in Neosho County.
Labette County Public Works Director Sandy Krider and Assistant Director Ralph George met with Labette County commissioners on Monday to discuss the issue.
The sheriff’s department on Wednesday and the Kansas Highway Patrol on Friday stopped gravel trucks that had been traveling on Gray or Jackson roads north of U.S. 400 and 26000 Road for violating a county ordinance that prohibits commercial traffic and overweight vehicles on these roads.
Gray Road, which is chipped and sealed to the Neosho County line, is rutted and full of potholes. This damage may be linked to the heavier trucks. Jackson Road is gravel north of 26000 Road into Neosho County. Citizens in the area complained to county Public Works about the heavy trucks and this prompted Krider to call the sheriff to look into it.
Krider said the trucks, supposedly empty, traveled U.S. 400 to Gray, then 26000 Road east to Jackson and then north into Neosho County. The civilian contractor in Neosho County on the Neosho Ridge Wind project for Apex Clean Energy contracted to get the gravel hauled to the wind turbine sites in southwest Neosho County. The rock was purchased from Midwest Minerals at Cherryvale and Dunn’s Trucking is one of the contractors hauling rock to the turbine sites.
Krider said the loaded trucks may be taking Kiowa Road north into Neosho County from U.S. 400, though Commissioner Fred Vail said there’s no evidence of them taking that route.
Sheriff’s deputies stopped trucks on Wednesday and Sheriff Darren Eichinger told commissioners he spoke with a truck driver and his supervisor that day and told them they could not travel that route because of the county ordinance that restricts commercial trucks.
Krider said county crews can repair potholes on Gray and the other roads and send the bill to whichever company is responsible for the damage. Her biggest concern is that the trucks crossed three 15-ton bridges on the route.
“That’s a no-no,” Commission Chairman Lonie Addis said.
Krider said the bridges were inspected in late 2019. Even empty, the trucks may be over the weight limit for the bridges.
She asked if she should contact an engineer to have the bridges inspected again and commissioners agreed to this.
Krider said she’s still waiting on phone calls to come back in and will update commissioners on Friday. She wants to find out the designated route for trucks going to and from the wind farm project in Neosho County. Concrete trucks will be part of the next construction phase and they would have to be restricted from these roads as well.
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