YMPO OKs Routes for Overweight Trucks

2013-05-10 18:38:00

Deciding not to add more routes, the Yuma Metropolitan Planning Organization Executive Board approved a list of designated corridors for overweight trucks traveling from Mexico.

The approved routes will allow overweight trucks to travel northbound along State Route 195, traversing parts of San Luis, Yuma and Yuma County.

The board had considered adding another 20 routes but ultimately sided with the YMPO Technical Advisory Committee, which did not recommend any additional corridors.

The TAC pointed out that additional routes could be reviewed when an actual need presents itself or when a study is completed to show that bridges and other infrastructure is sound and technically sufficient for overweight trucks of 90,000 pounds.

The committee noted that adding more routes could result in hardship due to funding levels and maintenance issues.

A local farmer had previously suggested that the plan be restricted to San Luis, Ariz., to avoid giving Mexico growers an economic advantage. But the TAC decided that since the routes are not for southbound traffic, they would not be unfair to local growers.

Frank Rascon of the Greater Yuma Port Authority and Greater Yuma Port Users had urged the board to adopt the routes, noting that the action would spur the economy.

“We’re behind the curve,” he said.

Rascon previously noted that the plan would attract new customers while keeping a competitive edge with Nogales.

A state law adopted in 2012 requires the Arizona Department of Transportation to share with counties and border cities the fee revenues collected from overweight trucks that cross into Arizona from Mexico. SB 1332 requires that a vehicle weighing from 80,000 to 90,800 pounds must obtain a special permit before crossing into the state.

Each single-use permit costs $75, with ADOT receiving 50 percent, Yuma County 25 percent and Yuma and San Luis sharing the remaining 25 percent.

“In the past, ADOT would keep the entire fee, and we would be stuck with the road maintenance costs associated with allowing overweight trucks,” County Administrator Robert Pickels explained last year.

As a result, the cities and the county restricted overweight trucks from using their roads, forcing those vehicles to either travel west to Mexicali or east to Nogales.

But with the new law, the entities reconsidered those restrictions.

While ADOT does not approve the routes used by overweight trucks – local jurisdictions must approve these routes – the agency implements the permitting process that legally allows trucks to use these corridors. ADOT hopes to implement the local program in mid-May.