Heavy transport destroys local roads – compensation for local governments

The passage of heavy transport vehicles over unpaved roads significantly contributes to permanent damage to the asphalt in the long run. For this reason, local governments appealed for financial support, allowing at least partially to rebuild the local road infrastructure. The Ministry of Infrastructure responded to this in a short time - its representatives announced that at the moment they are not able to promise financial assistance, but they will take care of this matter by intensifying inspections on local roads. Violation of road load regulations - the source of the problem of local governments On Wednesday (June 28, 2023), at the ongoing meeting of the Senate Committee of Local Government and State Administration, one of the representatives of the board for legislative matters commented on the violation of the regulations on the loading of transport vehicles by carriers. In his opinion, the weight of trucks and the pressure of their axles on the ground very often exceed the permissible values set by local road administrators. Thus, it significantly affects the safety of all road users using these trails. The deteriorating condition of the surface can negatively affect not only the condition of the car suspension, but also lead to many accidents and collisions. Therefore, local government officials issued an appeal to intensify inspections carried out by the Road Traffic Inspectorate and the police. However, that's not all - the surfaces of many sections are already damaged to the extent that they require detailed repair. For this reason, local governments also applied for compensation in the form of funds for the reconstruction and bringing local roads to a proper condition. It was also noted that so far no program has been created to compensate for the destruction of local roads by heavy transport vehicles. The overall calculation shows that the managers of such sections incur losses each year, which are not compensated in any way. More frequent inspections on local roads - will it help? It seems that increasing the frequency of inspections by the Road Transport Inspectorate could solve the problem in some way. Carriers exceeding the standards would have increased reasons for concern, thus deciding to reduce the amount of loading or choose typically transit routes. The problem is that the resources of the Inspectorate are very limited, which does not fully allow for intensifying detailed inspections on municipal and district roads, while maintaining their number on transit routes. Although local governments received a clear declaration regarding the increase in the number of inspections on local sections, they were still asked for understanding and patience in this regard. Carrying out inspections on highways and on national routes is definitely a more important aspect, which was confirmed by the example of inspections of vehicles coming from abroad. Local road administrators have the option of partially eliminating the problem The regulations introduced by the Court of Justice of the European Union in 2019 allow vehicles with a single drive axle load of up to 11.5 tons to move on any public road. The lack of financial compensation in this respect may have a significant impact on local government officials, who are mostly blamed for the poor condition of the roads. What is important in all this is the fact that in the regulation established by the CJEU, only one parameter is taken into account - the vehicle's axle load. Therefore, there are no contraindications to prohibit the movement of vehicles with a certain weight exceeding the permissible standards on a specific section. This can be done by simply putting up a traffic restriction sign for overweight vehicles. This is decided solely by the road manager himself, who has the right to introduce tonnage bans on local sections. Many local governments use this gate, thus preventing heavy vehicles from passing through sensitive and unpaved local trails. A similar situation applies to non-standard journeys. Each commune, and thus local road administrators, have the right not to consent to the transport of heavy loads on the road belonging to them. As part of the transport of goods with exceeded dimensions, carriers must ensure that they obtain the necessary permits from towns and villages, which are included on the route map. No promises of financial support The Association of Polish Cities has been seeking financial support for the reconstruction of roads damaged by the transport of too heavy loads for several years.

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