Tenders for four weigh stations (weighing bays) which will be used to identify overweight trucks on the nation’s roads will soon go out by the Ministry of Works and Transport.
They will be placed at strategic locations across the country by Licensing Division to weigh trucks that exceed its required load.
Last week, Minister of Works and Transport Rohan Sinanan said that his ministry was spending “millions of dollars” to repair roads that were being damaged by trucks that have been extending the height of its trays by four inches to accommodate more building materials such as gravel, red sand and aggregate.
“If you notice that the trucks we license, they all go to a welding shop and add on a four-inch band on the trays to carry extra load which is illegal. Once we set up these stations and start to pull trucks off the roads and begin to charge drivers people will realise it is not business as usual,” Sinanan said.
The Licensing headquarters in Caroni has already four weighing bays for trucks.
A truck is weighed depending on the number of axles it has.
Many of the heavy trucks have also been rupturing the Water and Sewerage Authority’s old pipelines causing a disruption of services in communities.
“If you look at the weight of trucks today it cannot be compared to trucks of long ago. Many of these trucks are rupturing WASA’s pipelines because they are overweight.”
He said drivers of heavy trucks are given a licence by the Director of Highways to drive on specific routes such as the highway and Eastern Main Roads, but have not been conforming to such regulations.
“What we find happening is that in order to cut time and get out of traffic these trucks take any back roads that would allow them faster trips. By doing this they have been damaging these roads.”
Sinanan admitted that many of the back roads in Trinidad do not have a solid foundation and would cave in due to the truck’s excessive weight.
“We are in the process of tendering out for four scales and what we will be implementing in the country very soon is these trucks that are not earmarked for secondary roads will not be allowed to use such roads.”
Asked what will be the cost of those scales, Sinanan said it would be far cheaper than to repair the roads.
“These bays will be set up at designated locations where trucks will be pulled off the roads by licensing officers or traffic wardens and weighed on the spot. The driver will be asked to drive on the scale which would tell if the truck is overweight or not. If your truck is overweight you will be charged. The item on the truck will also be impounded,” Sinanan said.
Sinanan said the fine for an overweight truck was minimal.
“Nothing close to what it should be. What we intend to do is enforce the law. We have a lot of fines in Trinidad that are just too low. We need to enforce the law.”