Muskego - While at this time of year lots of people are worried about being overweight, Muskego officials are worried about trucks running around the city being overweight.
When trucks leave designated truck routes to take shortcuts, they slice off delivery time, but they also slice off the life of roads, officials say.
Police catch the portly trucks when they can, and hand them pretty hefty fines. One topped $16,000 last year.
Police could nab more chubby trucks, but they have to let truckers slide most evenings because the businesses that let police use their truck scales are closed.
But not anymore.
Muskego has laid out $5,000 for a set of its own truck scales and officials expect to rake in $92,000 more in overweight truck fines this year. That would be before word gets around among truckers that Muskego is serious about protecting its roads and its residents who don't want huge trucks barreling past.
Officers have been trained in how to put trucks suspected of being too tubby onto the scales. Not only that, the scales are mobile and could be carried in a police squad car.
Even more than bringing in additional cash from fines, the scales mean police officers are not tied up as long investigating possible truck weight violations, said complaints, said Capt. David Constantineau. It had taken up to 45 minutes to escort trucks to scales and have them weighed, he said. The scales should put a dent in that time, he said.
That will be appreciated by officers and by truckers who have schedules to keep, Constantinueau said.
There are certain roads that are a temptation to take a shortcut, he said. They are most at risk of getting premature potholes or of potholes expanding because of heavy trucks passing over them, he said. Also, bridges not designed to stand up to massive trucks suffer as the tons of truck roll over them, he said.
Trucks can go off truck routes to make deliveries. However, they must travel the shortest distance of non-truck route possible, Constantinueau said.
Muskego police aren't the only ones with their own truck scales. New Berlin has scales, also, he said.