The second major infrastructural asset for Monticello in as many weeks (the new Monticello Airport was announced last week) was made public recently. The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) plans to build a new $5 million truck weigh station (sometimes called a “port”) six miles north of Monticello.
The new facility will be located at mile marker 78 (about six miles north of Monticello) at the top of Peter’s Hill on the east side of U. S. 191.
UDOT says that the new location will weigh and inspect a larger percentage of the 650 trucks (daily summer average) which pass through Monticello.
The highway north of Monticello carries a heavier load of traffic than the highways south and east of Monticello, and fewer drivers will “forget” to be weighed.
Kelvin Thacker, manager of the Monticello weigh station, reports the new five acre facility will be larger than the 3.5 acre port now in use. This will allow for more truck parking and ease of movement around the area.
Two scales are designed in the new facility so that trucks going in opposite directions will be able to weigh simultaneously instead of having to pull aside and take turns as is now the case.
New buildings on the site will include an indoor inspection bay, which will be a boon to inspectors and drivers who have had to work outside in all kinds of inclement weather in the past. Improved lighting and state-of-the-art equipment is also part of the project.
Thacker said the UDOT Construction Committee was scheduled to meet the last week in April, and unless something unforeseen happens at that meeting, the project will be put out for bid immediately after the committee meets.
Trucks that are 500 pounds overweight are usually cited. However some drivers have overweight permits, and there are other mitigating factors which will affect the amount of the fines.
About one percent of the trucks that pass through the port (averaging 6-7 a day ) are overweight. The amount of the fine depends on how much overweight they are.
Overweight trucks cause billions of dollars of damage to the highways of the nation, and as expensive as the weigh station system is, it pales in comparison to the damage trucks could cause if they were allowed to operate without weight restrictions.
Monticello’s weigh station has been a major player in the local economy since l954. According to Don Kilgrow, a retired Utah Highway Patrolman (UHP) who still works part-time at the Port as an inspector, the State Legislature passed a law in special session in l951 which created the weigh stations statewide.
In the beginning the ports were under the auspices of the UHP. Until l971, Monticello’s weigh station was located in a small white building still standing east of the Lamplight Restaurant.
In 1971, Hal-Ken Construction built a new weigh station at its present location east of Monticello on U. S. 491.
In 1985, the legislature transferred responsibility for weigh stations statewide from the UHP to UDOT (Utah Department of Transportation).
Upon completion, the new port will employ another full-time employee, bringing the number to four.
With the new airport reported last week, and the new weigh station there will be $12 million spent on the east side of the highway 191 between mile markers 77-78 in the next four years,
The two projects will provide an economic stimulus to the area as Monticello provides most of the goods and services for the scores of construction workers coming to build these major projects.