Installation of a weigh-in-motion system on U.S. 64 meant to catch semi-trucks trying to bypass the Interstate 40 weigh station between Alma and Van Buren is scheduled to begin this summer.
A contract to install the weigh-in-motion system was granted to Township Builders of Little Rock for $904,515, according to a media release from the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department.
This virtual system, made up of weigh-in-motion plates installed in the asphalt and a video camera trained on that location, is meant as a supplement to the weigh station that sits on I-40 between Interstate 49 and Interstate 540, said Danny Straessle with the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department.
"We’ve long known that trucks will try to avoid that weigh station by taking I-540," Straessle said.
Semi trucks entering the state from Oklahoma wishing to avoid the I-40 weigh station can do so by exiting to I-540 South, then onto U.S. 64 East. They connect with U.S. 71 in Alma to return to I-40, Straessle said.
Workers will install the weigh-in-motion system on U.S. 64 in the eastbound lane just outside of Alma, said Wallace Thomas, estimator for Township Builders.
"Basically the concept here is this will intersect or monitor any trucks that try to bypass the weigh station by hopping off the interstate onto U.S. 64," Thomas said.
As the trucks roll over the plates, the plates will calculate their weight and speed and send that information to a waiting highway patrol officer, Straessle said.
"If it turns out that something isn’t as it should be, the officer will be able to pull that truck over, check its weight and issue a citation if necessary," Straessle said.
All highway patrolmen carry portable scales and will be able to confirm a semi truck’s weight on location, said Major Jay Thompson with the Arkansas State Police Highway Patrol.
"We’ll be more efficient in enforcing weight laws on U.S. 64, which is a known bypass," Thompson said. "We’ll be able to closely monitor that traffic, identify those trucks that are overweight and take appropriate action."
Township Builders is waiting to receive the physical contract from the state, but construction on the weigh-in-motion system is expected to begin mid summer, Thomas said. The project should be completed by the middle of 2017, he said.
A contract also was awarded by the AHTD for $911,314.28 to Kesser International to repair 0.1 miles of Arkansas 59 just north of Natural Dam, according to an AHTD media release.