The Elba City Council approved an ordinance Monday evening, Sept. 12, during it meeting to establish and implement weight restrictions on bridges within the downtown business district in Elba.
Police Chief Troy Staley said his department realized there was an issue with the heavy truck ordinance recently in effect in the city in that it had a clause to exempt heavy vehicles conducting business within the city limits of Elba. He said that clause allowed heavy trucks to still travel over the Davis Street bridge over Pea River coming into the downtown area because those vehicles were technically doing business in the city limits.
He said after realizing the issue with the ordinance, his department brought it to city hall officials for further review, thus leading to the newer ordinance for weight restrictions on bridges in Elba.
Mayor Tom Maddox noted there are several structural deficient bridges in the State of Alabama, and there are 127 bridges in the state considered severely structurally compromised. He said the Pea River bridge on Davis Street leading in and out of the downtown area in Elba is one of those 127 severely structurally compromised bridges.
“If we don’t do something [now], over a period of time, especially with heavy log trucks traveling over the bridge, it will reduce the life of the bridge,” the mayor said.
He added that Alabama Code Section 39-9-20 authorizes the municipality to restrict bridge weight limits on city roadways as necessary to protect general welfare and public safety.
According to the ordinance, that is now in effect, the downtown business district shall consist of all streets, roads, and highways lying inside the public highway loop, beginning at the intersection of Alabama Highway 189 and Highway 203 south of Elba and continuing east on US Highway 84 to the intersection of Davis Street and Highway 84 east of the city.
After unanimous consent from the council to consider the ordinance at first reading, a motion to adopt the ordinance was made by council member A R Williams with a second from council member Gappa Wise. It passed by unanimous vote, as well.
The ordinance noted that persons violating the posted weight restriction shall be cited by any duly authorized peace officers with a uniform traffic complaint, and any such violation shall be punishable by a fine not to exceed $500.