There may be less rumbling (and ruts) down Barker Road in the near future.
On Tuesday, Gov. Christine Gregoire signed into a law that will require large commercial cattle trucks coming into Washington state to have to use Interstate 90 and stop at weigh stations for inspections.
The law applies to trucks entering the state via Pend Oreille and Spokane counties. Violators who are caught will face $1,000 fines.
Rep. Matt Shea, 4th District representative who sponsored the bill on behalf of the city of Spokane Valley and Spokane County, said in a prepared statement that he is particularly proud of the legislation.
“The high volume of these trucks is not only causing damage to the highway, but creating dangerous congestion for local traffic,” Shea wrote. “I’m also concerned if Canadian cattle truck operators are avoiding the port of entry inspections; we have no way of knowing whether sick animals are being transported into our state. That creates potential risks for our food supply.”
Under the bill, commercial cattle trucks with a gross weight of 40,000 pounds or more will be required to stop at ports of entry. Fines collected from violators will be placed into the state motor vehicle fund to be used for road maintenance purposes.
Shea said that plan will be of great benefit to roads such as Trent Avenue, which – since it has no port of entry – should not be subjected to the wear and tear it has seen in the past due to the truck traffic.
“Highway 290, which becomes East Trent Avenue through the Spokane Valley, was not built to handle these heavy trucks,” Shea said.
The new law – which had been dubbed Engrossed Substitute House Bill 1922 – had been modified from its initial passage in the Senate earlier in this year’s legislative session. Originally, the law had required vehicles over 65,000 pounds would have to stop; the new version is more restrictive.
On Tuesday night, Spokane Valley City Manager Mike Jackson told the City Council that Gregoire had signed the bill into law earlier in the day.