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Sanibel considering new weigh station for additional funds

By Staff | May 8, 2009

Following a resident’s suggestion at the Sanibel City Council meeting Tuesday, local leaders are engaged in a discussion regarding bringing back a weigh station to generate revenue for the island.
During public comments, Karen Storjohann asked the council to consider bringing back a weigh station. Until late in 2007, a weigh station had been located on Island B of the causeway.
According to Vice Mayor Kevin Ruane, the station brought in as much as $800,000 annually during its peak period in the first few years of the 21st century.
“This has been brought up before,” said Mayor Mick Denham, “but it’s up to my fellow councilmen to show an interest in bringing that idea back.”
Since the weigh station was disassembled and removed, prior to the refurbished causeway opening in September 2007, residents have complained about the increased commercial vehicle traffic and loss of revenue, which had been put toward the maintenance of island roadways.
However, the issue of where to construct a similar one on Sanibel has previously brought talks about a replacement station to a halt.
“This consideration of a weigh station is critical because the revenue we used to have will never return to the levels we have seen in the past,” said Councilmember Peter Pappas.
Councilmember Jim Jennings noted that there have been advances in technology that may allow for a weigh station to be added to a smaller area on the island. He suggested electronic devices used by similar stations could be embedded underground, resulting is less bulky structures.
Another issue brought up Tuesday was safety, with Denham suggesting that the city consult with Chief of Police Bill Tomlinson regarding the matter.
“It isn’t just the safety factor,” said resident Claudia Burns. “It’s the wear and tear on our roads, with these big, big trucks trying to make a turn.”
After some additional discussion, the council asked that the issue be added to the agenda of the June 2 meeting.
“It’s a multi-dimensional issue, but I think it can be brought back (for discussion),” said Denham.