Dunn Co. Commission approves weight restriction for bridgeMANNING — After deciding to post weight restriction signs near a bridge between Killdeer and Halliday on Wednesday, Dunn County commissioners are washing their hands of any problems inattentive truck drivers may run into.
MANNING — After deciding to post weight restriction signs near a bridge between Killdeer and Halliday on Wednesday, Dunn County commissioners are washing their hands of any problems inattentive truck drivers may run into.
Commissioners discussed ways to protect the worn and torn 11-ton concrete bridge during Wednesday’s commission meeting at the Dunn County Courthouse.
The bridge, located between First Street Southwest and Fourth Street Southwest along 86th Avenue, is scheduled to be rebuilt in 2014, but commissioners do not want to be “on the hook” for truck drivers who refuse to acknowledge the signs.
“The best way to absolve ourselves of any liability, of course, is to designate (86th Avenue) as a minimum maintenance road and then post it,” Dunn County State’s Attorney Ross Sundeen said. “You could be protecting the bridge so much as you’d be protecting yourself.”
Commissioner Daryl Dukart said posting signs is necessary, considering an increasing number of heavily-burdened drivers are using the bridge as a “short cut.”
“If you don’t put ‘no truck traffic’ on there, somebody’s going to cheat and use (the bridge),” Dukart said. “It’s just the nature of the beast.”
Commissioner Tim Steffan suspects oil workers are using the bridge the most, and thinks commissioners might have to replace it sooner than expected.
The county needs to place warning signs far enough away from the bridge so drivers have a chance to turn around, Commission Chairman Glenn Eckelberg said.
Ross does not expect every driver to turn around, but maintains that the signs will be fair warning.
“When we designate a road as a minimum maintenance road, it doesn’t mean (truck drivers) can’t drive across a bridge. I mean, they can do whatever they want,” Ross said. “The question is, who’s going to be on the hook for it?”
Commissioners also discussed whether it would be logical to close a four-mile strip of road connected with the bridge. County Road Superintendent Mike Zimmerman said road closure is not an option because the route is used to access a residence and for agriculture purposes.
Zimmerman also said keeping travelers safe is paramount.
“It’s kind of an unusual situation,” Zimmerman said. “We’re just concerned about trying to maintain the bridge until we can get it replaced.”