FARMINGTON — The Board of Selectmen voted 3-1 Tuesday to place a permanent weight limit on vehicles traveling Porter Hill Road.
Selectmen Joshua Bell, Stephan Bunker and Micheal Fogg supported an 80,000-pound weight limit on trucks using the road, which is under reconstruction. Selectman Matthew Smith, a logger, voted against the move. Selectman Andrew Buckland was absent.
Numerous, loaded trucks, which carry wood from Temple to the chip plant off Town Farm Road, take Porter Hill Road because it’s the quickest way to the plant, Town Manager Richard Davis said.
Carrying estimated loads of more than 100,000 pounds, they are just pounding the road, he said.
With the town putting over $300,000 into the road over a couple of years, the board has the right to restrict it to protect the road, he said.
While working on the road, Public Works Director Denis Castonguay noticed about half a dozen heavyweight trucks travel the road in less than a five-hour period. The number is likely 10 or 12 a day, he said.
“It is a lot of weight on that road,” he said.
The engineers who designed the road for the current project suggested a limit of 80,000 pounds, he said.
This would eliminate loaded tractor-trailer trucks because of the weight. The potential to carry more weight may be available in months like January, when the road is frozen, he said. Waivers could be granted. Another option is for woodsmen to carry smaller loads.
Selectmen asked if the work on Porter Hill Road was different than the work done on Voter and Morrison Hill roads last year. Castonguay said it wasn’t, but loaded tractor-trailers are not going over those roads, he said.