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Lisbon puts weight ban on some roads due to over saturation

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LISBON — A temporary ban on vehicles with more than six tons per axle is being instituted on several town roads that have been particularly affected by how wet the spring has been.

Town Highway Superintendent Timothy G. Dow said some of the roads are in especially rough shape this year because of the amount of snowmelt and rain they’ve had in addition to the receding frost.

Heavy vehicles are “pumping the roads; tearing them right up,” Mr. Dow said.

This is the first time in 19 years Mr. Dow remembers having to close roads to heavy vehicles as a result of soggy conditions.

Nathanael G. Putney, deputy town supervisor and part-owner of Lisbon Center Farms, said the town’s roads were never designed to handle heavy equipment in the first place, and this year’s weather has made matters worse.

Mr. Putney said the biggest stress on the roads is farming equipment. However, he said, with a little common sense, he doesn’t expect the restrictions to seriously affect farmers.

“It’s going to slow them down a little bit,” Mr. Dow said, but it isn’t “going to shut them off.”

Mr. Putney said in some cases farmers might have to reduce the amount of manure their trucks carry or use trailers with more axles to spread out the weight.

Drivers also should try to take corners as widely as possible, Mr. Putney said, to avoid cutting into the road.

Mark H. Akins, owner of Five Mile Farm, said the trailers he uses have “great big balloon tires so there is less pressure” on the road. He also said he uses trucks with at least 10 axles to spread out the weight.

“I’m really not worried about it,” he said of the rule.

Mr. Dow said people who break the temporary ban could face fines of up to $500 per over-weighted axle.

Signs have been posted on Five Mile Line Road between county routes 28 and 10, on Pray Road from Five Mile Line Road to County Route 28a, and on Hardscrabble and Dezell roads, with others likely to be added.

Mr. Dow was out Monday afternoon posting the signs on the roads that already have been torn up or are most susceptible to damage, saying it’s much more cost-effective for taxpayers to prevent damage whenever possible than to fix it after the fact.

Mr. Dow said the ban will be lifted once the ground has a chance to dry.

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