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WDAY: The News Leader

Published May 27, 2012, 09:59 PM

Cost of overload permits rise 500% in Richland County

Richland County (WDAY TV) -- Farmers in southeastern North Dakota are preparing for an extra-expensive harvest. Richland County just increased the cost of overload permits -- 500 percent. They say the increased price will protect damaged county roads.

Richland County (WDAY TV) -- Farmers in southeastern North Dakota are preparing for an extra-expensive harvest. Richland County just increased the cost of overload permits -- 500 percent. They say the increased price will protect damaged county roads.

The typical truck cruising county roads can weigh up to 80 thousand pounds.

With an overload permit -- those trucks can carry an extra 10 percent more weight during harvest.

David Link/Farmer: "These roads were never meant to handle that much weight. And when these permits come out they were meant to be a cushion."

A cushion so farmers like David Link could avoid hefty over-weight fines.

"Our roads are in tough shape..."

Now, the permit prices is 500 dollars, up from 100 last year.

Link says the county could use the money.

Link: "County roads are in terrible shape, township roads are in terrible shape..."

Link says while the dry spring has been beneficial for county roads, rough patches like this can get a whole lot worse. To him, the increased cost of the permit just doesn't cover it.

Link: "It doesn't take care of the weights we are hauling now. So no, it's just not enough money."

The county says the old permit at 100 dollars brought in around 60 thousand dollars... adding to its 2.4 million dollar budget. But it wasn't enough to deal with the damage.

Schulte: "A lot of rutting, where the water sits in the tracks, and alligator cracking where they're just about ready to fall apart."

The county says the price jump could do one of two things: Keep some farmers at the legal limit, or help cover repair costs..".

The permits are 500 dollars, per truck, for one 30 day period during harvest.

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