IRON RIVER—Iron County Road Commissioners OK’d a change in its road restriction policy that should help some drivers in the area when the spring breakup starts.
At its Jan. 10 meeting, the board reviewed the policy’s “no load” restriction for trucks, with Commissioner Ernie Schmidt explaining that the policy should be changed to no load for trucks over five tons.
With the revision, he said, someone hauling a load of firewood out of the woods in a pickup truck, for example, would not be cited.
Superintendent Doug Tomasoski said the policy committee had also been looking at raising permit fees from $35 to $45 or $50, which was comparable to other counties.
The board could not make the change immediately, but would need to hold a public hearing.
Schmidt said he thought the current fee was fine, as he had not heard complaints.
Raising the fee, he added, may cause people to try to get around it. Tomasoski agreed.
“We’ve had relatively good compliance,” he said, “and not too many complaints.”
He said the county averaged 76 permits per season, mostly loggers and contractors.
He also explained that he has the authority to issue permits on a case-by-case basis.
“I can give or deny a permit,” he said.
Often the decision is based on the conditions of a certain road, or even roads in various parts of the county because of the differences in temperature and snow cover.
“We’re trying to cooperate with the public,” he said, “and still protect our roads.”
The revision for lighter trucks, he added, helps narrow the gray areas.
in his superintendent’s report, Tomasoski said program applications were submitted for two primary road projects slated for completion this year: phase seven of Bates-Amasa Road, and Gibbs City Road.
He said he had received three-year road plans from most of the townships, and hoped to schedule a task-force meeting for the end of January.
The county received an award of excellence from the Asphalt Pavement Association of Michigan for this year’s work on the Bates-Amasa Road.
The Road Commission shared the award with Northeast Asphalt.
The difficulty of the terrain and the high quality of the job were two factors in giving the award.
The board approved purchasing, along with several other counties, public service announcements on WLUC-TV, which will cover safe driving in the winter, sharing the roads with plow trucks and snow removal equipment, plowing on roadways and other topics of winter driving.
As the mild winter allowed, crews are still brushing throughout the county.
Intersections have the priority, and the crews are currently working on the east side of the county.