Ordinance Restricting Vehicle Weight on Posted Ways

Town of Whiting 

Section 1. Purpose and Authority


The purpose of this ordinance is to prevent damage to town ways and bridges in the Town of Whiting which may be caused by vehicle of excessive weight, to lessen safety hazards and the risk of injury to the traveling public, to extend the life expectancy of town ways and bridges, and to reduce the public expense of their maintenance and repair.


 This ordinance is adopted pursuant to 30-A.M.R.S.A. § 3009 and 29-A.M.R.S.A.  §§ 2395 and 2388 and additions and amendments thereto.


Section 2. Definitions


 The definitions contained in Title 29-A.M.R.S.A. and additions and amendments thereto shall govern the construction of words contained in this ordinance. Any words not defined therein shall be given their common and ordinary meaning.


Section 3. Restrictions and Notices


 All town ways and bridges are closed to any vehicle or combination of vehicles registered for a gross weight in excess of 23,000 pounds, traveling with a load other than tools or equipment necessary for the proper operation of the vehicle, from November 1 to May 1 yearly. 


 The municipal officers may, in addition, either permanently or seasonally, impose such restrictions on the gross registered weight of vehicles as may, in their judgment, be necessary to protect the traveling public and prevent abuse of the highways, and designate the town ways and bridges to which the restrictions shall apply.


Whenever notice has been posted as provided herein, no person may thereafter operate any vehicle with a gross registered weight in excess of the restriction during any applicable time period on any way or bridge so posted unless other wise exempt as provided herein.


 The notice shall contain, at a minimum, the following information: the name of the way or bridge, the gross registered weight limit, the time period during which the restriction applies, the date on which the notice was posted, and the signatures of the municipal officers or their authorized designee.


 The notice shall be conspicuously posted at each end of the restricted portion of the way or bridge in a location clearly visible from the travel way. Whenever a restriction expires or is lifted, the notices shall be removed wherever posted. Whenever a restriction is revised or extended, existing notices shall be removed and replaced with new notices.

 No person may remove, obscure or otherwise tamper with any notice so posted except as provided therein.


Section 4.  Exemptions


    The following vehicles are exempt from this ordinance:


a.        any two-axle vehicle while delivering home heating fuel;

b.      any vehicle awhile engaged in highway maintenance or repair under the direction of the State or Town;

c.       any emergency vehicle (such as firefighting apparatus or ambulances) while responding to an emergency;

d.      any school transportation vehicle while transporting students;

e.      any public utility vehicle while providing emergency service or repairs; and

f.        any vehicle whose owner or operator holds a valid permit from the municipal officers as provided herein.


Section 5.  Permits


The owner or operator of each vehicle not other wise exempt as provided herein may apply in writing to the municipal officers for a permit to operate on a posted way or bridge notwithstanding the restriction. The municipal officers or their designee may issue a permit only upon all of the following findings:


a.        no other route is reasonably available to the applicant;

b.      it is a matter of economic necessity and not mere convenience that the applicant use the way or bridge;

c.       the applicant has tendered cash, a bond or other suitable security running to the Town in an amount sufficient, in their judgment,  to repair any damage to the way or bridge which may reasonably result from the applicant’s use of same;

d.      the registration and license number of each vehicle, tractor or trailer;

e.      a description of each vehicle, tractor or trailer with at least: make, model, color, and any lettering thereon;

f.        the name of the owner of the vehicle, tractor or trailer, together with:

(1)     the name of the licensee, if applicable;

g.       the registered weight of the vehicle, tractor or trailer.


Even of the municipal officers or their authorized designee make the foregoing findings, they need not issue a permit if they determine the applicant’s use of the way or bridge could reasonably be expected to create or aggravate a safety hazard or cause substantial damage. They may also limit the number of permits issued or outstanding as may, in their judgment, be necessary to preserve and protect the highways.

 In determining whether to issue a permit, the municipal officers or their authorized designee shall consider the following factors:


a.       the gross registered weight of the vehicle or combination of vehicles;

b.      the current and anticipated condition of the way or bridge;

c.       the number and frequency of vehicle or combination trips proposed;

d.      the cost and availability of materials and equipment for repairs;

e.      the extent of use by other exempt vehicles; and

f.        such other circumstances as may, in their judgment, be relevant.


The municipal officers or their authorized designee may issue permits subject to reasonable conditions, including but not limited to restrictions on the actual load weight and the number or frequency of vehicle trips, the temperature, the time that the temperature has constantly remained below 32° Fahrenheit, whether or not the road is solidly frozen, which shall be clearly noted on the permit.


Section 6.  Revocation


Any permit may be revoked by the municipal officers at any time they in their sole discretion determine that the licensee’s use is causing damage, may cause an exacerbation of damage, or is unsafe.


Section 7.  Administration and Enforcement


This ordinance shall be administered and may be enforced by the municipal officers or their duly authorized designee (such as road commissioner, code enforcement officer) or municipal, state or county law enforcement officer.


Section 8.  Penalties


Any violation of this ordinance shall be a civil infraction subject to a fine of not less than $250.00 nor more than $1,000.00 Each violation shall be deemed a separate offense. In addition to any fine, the Town may seek restitution for the cost of repairs to any damaged way or bridge and reasonable attorney fees and costs.


 Prosecution of the infraction shall be in the name of the Town and shall be brought in the Maine District Court.


An action for damage to any way or bridge may be brought in any court of competent jurisdiction.


Section 9.  Amendments


This ordinance may be amended by the municipal officers at any properly noticed meeting.


Section 10.  Severability; Effective Date


In the event any portion of this ordinance is declared invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, the remaining portions shall continue in full force and effect.


This ordinance shall take effect immediately upon enactment by the municipal officers at any properly noticed meeting.



Enacted:  October 16, 1996                         By:            /s/ John A. Pope

                                                                                           /s/ Timothy J. Mallar

                                                                                          /s/  Carroll C. Gilpatrick

                                                                                          Selectmen of the Town of Whiting