Sterling Heights police enforce tighter, temporary truck weight limits

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published April 12, 2019

 Sterling Heights police officer Andre Basin, from the traffic bureau,   carries a scale used to enforce seasonal truck weight limits.

Sterling Heights police officer Andre Basin, from the traffic bureau, carries a scale used to enforce seasonal truck weight limits.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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STERLING HEIGHTS — Sterling Heights police took on the load of stopping overly heavy trucks from driving in certain city areas while seasonal weight limits were in effect.

Police officials said in March that their traffic patrols employed portable scales to enforce seasonal weight limits on heavy trucks this spring. They also had access to scales at the city’s Department of Public Works building on 18 Mile Road.

Police stepped up enforcement after the Macomb County Department of Roads imposed truck weight limits known as frost laws March 14 on the county’s asphalt and gravel roads, as well as on neighborhood concrete roads. A separate memo states that the Department of Roads lifted its weight restrictions April 11.

Michigan is known to have the highest weight limits on trucks in the nation — 164,000 pounds compared to the federal standard of 80,000 pounds, though state officials say the state is more restrictive on weight per axle. While the weight limitations were in effect, concrete roads and designated tandem routes still allowed trucks to be the normal weight limit. However, the limit dropped by 25% on subdivision concrete roads, and by 35% for “gross axle loading” on asphalt or gravel.

The restrictions tend to be seasonal and weather-dependent, city officials said. Violators face penalties and fees that can go as high as thousands of dollars, police said.

According to a statement from Sterling Heights Police Chief Dale Dwojakowski, frost still melts from the roads around this time of year, and a heavy vehicle rolling on a softer roadbed can cause the road to easily crack.

“It is the goal of the Sterling Heights Police Department to make sure our roads don’t experience any unneeded abuse that will further destroy our roads that we all eventually will have to pay for,” the chief said.

In an email, Sterling Heights Police Sgt. Aaron Susalla agreed that these weight violations are “very serious,” especially when they occur during this time of year.

“The added weight on our roadways have major negative effects on our infrastructure,” he said. “During our enforcement, our officers did find trucks well over the legal weight limits.”

Susalla said the Police Department has had its patrols out to monitor the situation daily, including “special overtime details that are specifically designed to enforce weight limits on our roadways.” He said the department plans to have more officers trained as Motor Carrier Certified officers.

“The state trunklines are more likely to have overweight violations due to the trucks utilizing these roadways on a more regular basis, but it is the local roads that have restrictions during frost law times,” he said.
Sterling Heights police Officer Remie Verougstraete said he recently was involved with the enforcement on trucks. He said he personally didn’t issue any weight-related violations. But he explained that police have used the scales during enforcement stops, and they have caught other violations on the trucks while checking equipment, which he said can include tires and lights.

“When we pull over any truck, we look at everything as a whole,” he said. “Weight is just one aspect to safety when it comes to the truck.”

Find out more about the Sterling Heights Police Department by calling (586) 446-2800. For the Macomb County Department of Roads, visit roads.macombgov.org or call (586) 463-8671.

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