County adopts rainy day road restrictions

Ward County’s graveled roads will be off limits to heavy trucks following heavy rains like those experienced around the region the past couple of months.

The Ward County Commission voted Tuesday to adopt restrictions during wet conditions for roads that could be damaged by heavy vehicles. The specifics of those restrictions and how they would be applied is being researched by the county highway department.

Highway engineer Dana Larsen told commissioners that his office has been receiving complaints since last weekend’s rain about road damage.

Some area counties have programs to impose rain-related restrictions, typically for vehicles weighing 26,000 pounds or more. Notification generally is through media channels or an oil and gas website.

Commission chairman Jerome Gruenberg proposed that Ward County draft restrictions.

“It’s either we shut them down and try to save them or we sit here and figure out how to get the money to fix them,” he said.

Commissioners also received a report on the county’s Geographic Information System, which is now available for public use at ( or from the county website ( by selecting “area maps” under the community heading.

Jim Mertz, county GIS coordinator, said there are various features of the mapping system that will be useful to the general public. The public can select particular parcels to determine elevations, school district, ownership, valuation and data and other information.

A flood viewer feature will be useful in emergencies, Mertz added. Links to National Weather Service flood gauges are included.

The county is considering further map updates, such as listing fire district affiliation for parcels or adding general highway information.

The county has been working on the GIS maps for a few years and began making the first versions of the maps available to the public this past spring. The maps incorporate LIDAR imagery captured in 2010.

The GIS maps were formatted for viewing on tablets as well as on personal computers.