Tama Co. Board of Supervisors by Joyce Wiese
October 20, 2011
Tama County Supervisors met Monday morning, October 17 with the County Engineer who has concerns about the machinery used in the fall harvesting. Brehm stated that each year increasing problems are experienced with grain carts, the large wagons pulled by a tractor that typically have one axle and an augur. Iowa law prohibits more than 20,000 pounds per axle for commercial vehicles, but allows up to 28,000 pounds per axle for a farmer who is carrying his own product on a non-commercial vehicle. The 28,000 pound limit is reduced to 24,000 pounds during the spring (Iowa Code 321.463). Therefore. a grain cart can legally have up to 28,000 pounds on that axle at this time of year. The corn inside a 1200 bushel grain cart weights about 67,000 pounds. If 30% of the load is transferred to the tractor there is at least 47,000 pounds on that axle, which still does not include the weight of the cart itself. The rear axle of the tractor may be overloaded also. Even with the ag exemption, a loaded grain cart is stilll dramatically overweight. The excessive weight severely damages roads. Many people have commented in seeing a semi parked on a road, paved or gravel, being filled by a grain cart, even though the lalw does not make an exemption for this. The result is the entire road being blocked, exposing the traveling public to an unresonable hazard. Brehm has heard first hand accounts of this activity taking place in the middle of a Tama County pavement on a dark rainy night. Unfortunately this practice is more common after a rain. These operators avoid tearing up their field but cause significant damage to the road. Though bridges are not at all designed to support this type of load, several loaded cartys have been seeing going across bridges. These massive loads cause unneccessary damage to bridges. Continued usage by loaded grain carts will result in bridge failure. Manufacturers have gone to great lengths to facilitate movement of larger combines. Most of the larger heads can be easily removed and pulled on a cart. Despite this, there is still equipment of excessive width traveling down all types of roads. We know living in Iowa we are trained to watch for harvest traffic, but the operators who take up the entire road have to recognize the danger they create for others. Most grain cart owners operate their equipment in a responsible manner, but the taxpayers and traveling public need to let the bad operatorss know they have had enough. The Tama County Secondary Road Department is familiar with the laws, but has no enforcement power. The public needs to let the poor operators know that they do not appreciate their safety lapse and the increased burden placed upon them. If they arae uncommfortable talking to these operators there is also the choice of contacting law enforcement. The Iowa DO Motor Vehicle Enforcement Division, (the blue cars), can be reached at 1-800-925-6469. The Tama County Sheriff’s office can be reached at 641-484-3760. Supervisors stated they hoped all operators would act responsibly and avoid calling law enforcement in which could be expensive for the operator. In other business a permit was approved for Windstream to do work in York Township. A Health Insurance document has a change in that it allows an employee to go from part time to full time status to constitute a qualifying event for insurance. As it previously stood a part time employee must wait much longer for insurance even though they had worked many years part time than a new employee full time. Claims for the past week approved , came to $255,437.75.
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