Wednesday, March 31, 2010

WisDOT On The Hot Seat

The Journal Sentinel is reporting that in a recent three-month period, only two trucks were stopped by the State Patrol for weight violations on Zoo Interchange bridges known to have structural problems, and no citations were issued.

Estimates using recording data taken from sensors on the bridges shows about one of every six trucks rolling through the interchange were above their assigned limit, the newspaper has reported.

It seems, then, that the weight limits were imposed in the interchange as the state moved to hurriedly replace three failing bridges - - a plan that last week imploded - - were not rigorously enforced.

I am told by a trucking expert that a legally-loaded truck leaves wear and tear to a roadway structure equal to 800 cars.

The State Patrol is an arm of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, the agency also in charge of bridge and highway inspections, safety, repair and construction.

The current WisDOT Secretary, Frank Busalacchi, is a former Teamsters Union official, so there should have been in the agency a high level of expertise and knowledge of the relationship between trucking and road wear.

How could the state's enforcement of load limits in that interchange -- the state's busiest - - be so lax?

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