Quesnel City Council will allow 9 axle trucks on some industrial municipal roads.
City Manager Byron Johnson delivered a lengthy report on the topic last night.
The gist of it is that while it will increase the loads from 63.5 tonnes to a maximum of 72.3 but it will reduce the weight per axle and result in fewer loads overall.
Johnson says these trucks are already allowed in other parts of BC, which he says is putting Quesnel mills at a competitive disadvantage…
“This new configuration is currently in use in BC. It’s in use extensively in the Prince George area. It’s used on Highway 16 all the way out to Houston, actually i believe to Hazelton, it’s in use around the Dawson Creek and Fort St. John area. Interesting where this is allowed in BC is it’s allowed in that north area and then from Prince George down to Dunkley Lumber. It’s not allowed in Quesnel because there is not local municipal roads allowed, so there is no destination point, because there’s no mills that can be delivered to off the highway.”
Johnson noted that this will allow for a connection to all of the industrial facilities in the Quesnel area, with the exception of the plywood plant.
The roads impacted will be the Quesnel-Hixon Road, 875 meters in from Highway 97, Finning Road, Carradice Road, Brownmiller Road, McLeod Avenue and Rome Avenue.
The vote was unanimous, although Council also noted that if the life cycle of these roads is severely shortened they would then engage in a discussion with industry about future cost sharing to maintain them.
This decision now needs the approval of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.
There was also talk last night about the possibility of allowing these trucks on the City’s bridges.
That request is expected to come later and some Councillors, like Scott Elliott, may be a little more concerned about that…
“What we are talking about specifically is the logs now and the trucks now are able to come south from Prince George etc… to Dunkley, so all we’re doing it is bringing it to our mills without it actually going on the city roads right downtown. I think it is going to be an interesting conversation later when we have the reports specific to the bridges, and as you mention it would open it up from everyone but that will be an extensive conversation. At this point in time i think we should be backing the forest industry and making sure that those logs can continue south, so i’m good with this.”
Councillor Shushil Thapar also expressed concern about the potential higher cost for maintenance should these trucks be allowed to go over the bridges.