West Virginia city seeks to sell truck scales, never used

MOUNDSVILLE (AP) — A Northern Panhandle city is looking to sell road scales officials purchased in 2010 amid the gold rush for natural gas.

Moundsville purchased the scales to weigh trucks officials believed were carrying too much cargo. The hope was the weight checks would spare unnecessary damage to city streets from overloaded trucks, which has been a problem in some localities where natural gas is drilled in Marcellus Shale.

But Vice Mayor David Wood tells the Intelligencer he does not believe the scales have ever been used.

Now, Moundsville is looking to sell the scales to Powhatan Point. The village across the Ohio River in Belmont County has to contend with potentially overweight vehicles associated with natural gas drilling and coal mining industries, according to Police Chief Jason West.

Drilling-related trucks driving throughout the upper Ohio Valley include so-called sand cans, which transport fracking sand to the gas well sites. There are also water trucks, equipment trucks, and tanker trucks that could carry natural gas liquids such as propane.

“We do have a lot of truck traffic. It is always a concern,” Wood said. “Certainly, there is wear and tear on the streets from this.”

Moundsville Police Chief Thomas Mitchell declined to say why Moundsville never used the scales, other than saying it’s “hard to weigh trucks.”

Wood said the city paid about $9,000 for the scales at the time of their purchase.

“We just don’t have the manpower in our police department to handle it,” Wood said. “There are so many ways in and out of Moundsville that for us to tie up officers’ time weighing trucks, it just wouldn’t make sense.”

Roads leading to natural gas drilling sites or processing plants include W.Va. 2 and U.S. 250, among others. Stopping trucks along any of these routes could create traffic jams, Wood said.

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