Until Tuesday, officers with the DPS Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division relied on portable scales when checking tractor-trailers for possible weight violations in and around Clay County. Now troopers have a permanent, well-lit weigh station with state-of-the-art scales. And Clay County will benefit financially.
The weigh station, located on Hwy. 287 at the southbound rest area near New York Road, is the result of a cooperative effort between Clay County and the DPS.
The CVE Division approached commissioners with the request for a weigh station over the summer, stating that a portion of the revenues generated by the station would go into the county coffers.
The county purchased the scale and installation at a cost of $48,623.83. Another $550 in electrical work was required. As its part, the DPS will pay for the electricity to operate the scale and a streetlight located at the station.
During Tuesday’s review of the weigh station, Trooper Jeff Allen of Henrietta said that, according to Justice of the Peace Jim Humphrey, Clay County would receive approximately two-thirds of fines issued at the station, while one-third would go to the state.
While Allen is relatively new to the CVE Division, his predecessor, Trooper Larry King issued $50,000 in citations for weight violations in a five-year period using portable scales. But, what Allen called the byproduct, or other citations issued while inspecting a commercial vehicle during a weigh-in lead to an additional $450,000, or $90-100,000 per year.
The weigh station is the only one of its kind in DPS District 5A, which reaches from Wilbarger County east to Montague, and includes Archer, Wichita, Jack, Baylor, Ford, King and Stephens Counties. The CVE Division has access to coop scales in Vernon and Harrold, while the nearest government-owned weigh stations are located at Decatur and Bridgeport.
Allen said the CVE Division is already working areas of Hwy. 287 near the rest area, and will continue with an emphasis on the location.
While Troopers will continue to carry the portable scales, which weigh in at more than 200 pounds, the new station will be especially handy during times of extreme heat or inclement weather.
Jon Parker of Mettler Toledo Scales demonstrated the station for commissioners and DPS Troopers Tuesday. He said the scale is calibrated to measure up in 20-pound increments up to 80,000 pounds, but can be set up for 100,000 or 120,000 pounds.
The scale is just large enough to measure each axle of a tractor-trailer. Drivers can be fined not only for total weight but also for exceeding the registered axle weight. Each corner of the scale can measure up to $50,000 pounds so that the truck does not have to be centered on the scale for an accurate measure.
Allen said the CVE Division serves two purposes, to prevent damage to other vehicles, roads and bridges, and because a registered commercial vehicle cannot be over its registered weight.