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Local News

Joliet council committee OKs fees for overweight permits

JOLIET – A Joliet City Council committee Tuesday gave an early OK to the city’s first fees for overweight trucks.

The fee schedule, along with other proposed trucking regulations, will go to the full council for approval.

The fees were moved forward despite some concerns they should first get reviewed by trucking interests.

“I don’t know if we could run it by some trucking associations,” John Greuling, chief executive for the Will County Center for Economic Development, said to the committee.

“I’m sure they’re going to say it’s too much,” replied Councilman Terry Morris, chairman of the Land Use and Legislative Committee.

The permit fees range from $75 to $300 depending on the weight of the trucks and whether they were making single trips or round trips. Fees for trucks carrying grain are at $50 daily, $250 weekly and $500 monthly.

City Attorney Marty Shanahan noted most municipalities charge fees for overweight permits, although Joliet has not.

The permit fee schedule was among several items getting rewrites and changes in the city’s trucking ordinance after a review by Shanahan. Many of the changes were legal fine points aimed at tidying up city ordinances.

But others, including a new fine for blocking roads, reflect heightened interest in regulating truck traffic as the logistics industry in the area continues to grow.

Earlier this month, opened a fulfillment center in Joliet. Mars this month announced it will move into a 1.4 million-square-foot warehouse in the city. Ikea will build matching 1.4 million-square-foot facilities.

The companies are bringing hundreds of jobs and new tax dollars into the area. But city officials also have heard from residents frustrated with the growing numbers of trucks on local highways and streets.

Shanahan said the new ordinance against blocking traffic is in response to an increase in incidents, in which
semitrailers have blocked roads by knocking down poles or hitting viaducts. In one incident, he said, an overloaded semitrailer broke in half.

“This gives the officer another option for issuing citations,” Shanahan said. “When you knock down a pole, it gives the officer a mechanism for writing a ticket.”

Councilwoman Jan Quillman instructed Shanahan to set the minimum fine for blocking traffic at $500 instead of the usual $100 minimum for an ordinance violation.

“I say a minimum of $500,” Quillman said. “We have to let these guys know they can’t keep wrecking our town.”

The maximum fine for an ordinance violation is $750, although Quillman asked if that could be raised.

The proposed trucking ordinances will not go to the council at its next meeting Tuesday. But they could be considered at the Nov. 17 meeting.

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