New Milford Town Council approves ordinance limiting weight of vehicles on Cherniske Road

Photo of Sandra Diamond Fox
One lane bridge on Cherniske Road that New Milford proposes to make two lanes. Friday, December 14, 2018, in New Milford, Conn.

One lane bridge on Cherniske Road that New Milford proposes to make two lanes. Friday, December 14, 2018, in New Milford, Conn.

H John Voorhees III / Hearst Connecticut Media

NEW MILFORD — Drivers of heavy trucks that were crossing Cherniske Bridge on their way through town may have to plan a new route — or pay a fine.

At Monday’s Town Council meeting, the council unanimously dupported an ordinance restricting the weight limit of vehicles on Cherniske Road to less than 16 tons (32,000 pounds). The ordinance will go to a public hearing at 6:25 p.m. May 23 in the E. Paul Martin Room at Town Hall.

Aside from Cherniske Road, which is a scenic road, the ordinance also applies to Barker Road, another scenic road, and New Preston Road.

The ordinance was initiated in response to concerns some residents and Town Council members expressed about the weight limit of vehicles crossing Cherniske bridge.

Photographs of what some residents said are 40-ton trucks crossing the bridge were submitted at a prior meeting. Residents have been concerned about the bridge not being able to support the weight of those trucks.

Cherniske Bridge, which is one lane, has been closed since January. Town Council has approved construction of a two-lane bridge, expected to be built next year. The town is installing a temporary, one-lane bridge on Cherniske Road, which is expected to be completed in August. The bridge will be for emergency use only.

The ordinance approved Monday states that signs would be placed at each point of intersection of the three roads, indicating the weight restriction of vehicles. Those who violate the ordinance would be charged with an infraction of $90.

Public Works Director Jack Healy said a 32,000-pound truck is about the size of one of the town's municipal dump trucks.

Exceptions would be made to the ordinance, however, for local delivery or service vehicles, New Milford Mayor Pete Bass said.

Beneath the signs, Healy said a small placard will indicate local vehicles making deliveries or performing services, such as oil trucks, pool water and tree cutting are exempt from the ordinance “as long as they're just local and they're delivering to those roads.”

“You don't want to prevent that from occurring,” he added.

The ordinance would be enforced by police, who’ll patrol the area. There would be no limit to the number of times someone can be fined for violating the ordinance.

The total weight amount that trucks can carry is listed on the outside of the trucks, Healy said.

In creating the ordinance, which is permanent, Healy said he took guidance from the state Department of Transportation, Washington First Selectman Jim Brinton and Kent's public works director.