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Lumberland moves toward road use agreement; Large trucks to be restricted

By Guy Charles Harriton
April 24, 2013

By all indications, Lumberland will join surrounding towns protecting town roads by seeking to adopt a Road Use and Preservation Law it was learned at a public hearing April 10.

Only a few residents attended the public hearing but those who did were vocal about preventing large vehicles from making frequent trips in Lumberland. Some of the constituents were concerned about the impact the law would have on existing businesses in the area and how they would fare financially.

Others pointed out that Tusten and Highland have passed similar laws and that if Lumberland gets on board, code enforcement officers and highway superintendents will make sure there are no glitches in the system.

The local law in Lumberland, if it is passed, will prohibit trucks over 33,000 pounds from using town roads except in the case of pick ups and deliveries to addresses on town roads. Agricultural vehicles, town vehicles and school buses will be exempt.

While every town is tweaking the law, essentially they have fought a long battle in keeping these heavy vehicles off the small, rural town roads. Residents in attendance were complimentary of the town board members who worked diligently on the matter.

Initially, the law was drafted to protect the local roads from high-impact industrial uses and specifically to prevent the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing that is used to extract natural gas from shale buried deep below the surface of the earth.

The Millennium Pipeline (MP) serves as an example of how numerous truck trips can negatively impact town roads. When the pipeline was expanded in 2008, large trucks were used on small town roads in the Town of Cochecton, and were damaged. The highway superintendent at the time said the town was never properly reimbursed for the damage caused by the construction.