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Smoking ban vote set for July 1

BY Samantha Oyler - soyler@chronicle-tribune.com

The Grant County Commissioners could vote on a proposed smoking ban at their July 1 meeting. 

The ban would prohibit smoking in Grant County bars and public places. 

The commissioners held a public hearing for the ordinance last week but at least one commissioner, Mark Bardsley, said he needed more time to research the possible impact of the ordinance before making a decision. Still, they hope to have an answer in July. The commissioners meet at 2 p.m. in the Grant County Council Chambers. 

“We’ve been talking about this for six months, let’s put this to rest,” said Commissioner Ron Mowery.

New federal regulations will also have an impact on Grant County bridges, Highway Superintendent David White told the commissioners Monday.

The regulations require bridges to be marked with their weight limit. He said 12 bridges already have signs posted but roughly 30 more still need them.

The weight limits usually don’t pose a problem for a typical vehicle, but White said “specialty vehicles,” like school buses, fire trucks, ambulances or loaded tractor trailers could run into problems.

“All the bridges are in safe working condition, we just need the necessary signs put up,” White said.

Knowing the weight of a vehicle is valuable information because some older bridges, like the Cumberland Covered Bridge in Matthews, can’t hold as much weight as modern bridges.

In order to make this change more convenient for heavy vehicles, signs will also be posted at intersections leading to bridges, giving them a chance to find a new route.

In the event that a vehicle is too heavy to cross a particular bridge, the Federal Highway Administration recommends that you reduce your load or take multiple trips, take an alternative route or contact a transportation agency to see if accommodations can be made to the bridge to allow for a safe crossing.

White thinks it’ll be a few more months before all the required bridges have proper signage. The new signs need to be up by the fall. 

These signs are enforceable by law and could result in a traffic violation citation. Drivers can also be liable for any damages that result from violating a load posting.