Florence backs plan for heavier truck loads


Staff Writer

FLORENCE, Wis. – Logging trucks traveling on U.S. 2 in Florence County may soon be able to carry more weight if the Florence County Board of Supervisors gets its way.

During their Tuesday meeting, supervisors approved a resolution asking state legislators to add Florence County to a list of other counties on the Michigan border that allow trucks to haul up to 164,000 pounds of forest products on U.S. 2.

Currently, trucks that conform to Michigan’s lighter axle design can haul up to 154,000 pounds on U.S. 2 in Wisconsin.

The increase of 10,000 pounds would allow trucks to carry the full truck weight allowed in Michigan.

Florence County Economic Development Corporation Director Wendy Gehlhoff noted that increasing the weight would benefit Florence Hardwoods, which is located in the Florence Industrial Park near U.S. 2.

“This additional weight per truck will help Florence Hardwoods compete on a more economically level playing field with Michigan sawmills,” she said.

Florence Hardwoods is the county’s third largest employer.

The resolution cites efficiency as another advantage.

“More efficient truck weight configurations provide fewer trips, less traffic, less wear, greater fuel economy, more efficient braking, reduced stopping distance, less air pollution, less time spent transporting forest products, and less time spent on empty back hauls,” the resolution states.

The resolution will be sent to Governor Scott Walker, state transportation committee members, Senator Tom Tiffany, and Representative Rob Swearingen.

In other business, the board:

– Approved the list of emergency fire wardens for Florence County for 2013.

They are Ed Payette at the C & R bar in Aurora, Wis., Kevin and Wendy Huth at the Fence Post in Fence, Wis., Randy and Susan Schneider at the Store in Long Lake, Wis., and George Marciulionis at the Tipler Bar & Grill in Tipler, Wis.

Florence County Forestry and Parks Administrator Pat Smith explained that there are no more residential emergency fire wardens. Only businesses are listed.

– Approved to send a letter to the state opposing proposed revisions to the Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection 50 rule.

Florence County Land Conservation Administrator Margie Yadro said that the proposed revisions would cut funding to her department. She is also asking other organizations in the county to send similar letters.

– Approved to send a letter to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources in support of filling the vacant private lands forester position in Florence County.

– Approved changes to the county’s revolving loan fund manual in order to be in compliance with the federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Nikki Younk’s e-mail address is nyounk@ironmountaindailynews.com.