OAKLAND — The Town Council edged closer to closing off Rice Rips Road to heavy truck traffic Wednesday when it approved the first reading of new weight restrictions on the quiet residential street.

The council approved putting a 26,000-pound weight limit on the road, which runs from the Oakland town line near Colby College to Fairfield Street.

Residents have complained about large tractor-trailer trucks that use their street as a short-cut to transport material from a warehouse on Marston Road to the Sappi paper mill in Skowhegan. Town officials are also concerned about the damage that heavy trucks to do the road, which was not built to bear such weight.

If the restriction is put in place, heavy vehicles would be prohibited from using the road and violators could face stiff fines. Occasional use of the road by transport trucks would be allowed with a town-issued permit.

Town Manager Gary Bowman said Thursday that councilors considered blocking through traffic on the road but decided to move ahead with the weight limit instead. The council is expected to hold a final vote at its Oct. 14 meeting to approve the measure.

Bowman said he met with the owners of D.H. Pinette and Sons Inc., a roofing company on Rice Rips Road, to make sure the new restrictions wouldn’t interfere with their business.

“They certainly understand where we are coming from,” Bowman said. “They are willing to work with us, and we are willing to work with them.”

He has yet to talk to Colby College to see if the weight rules would affect deliveries to the campus, Bowman said.

If the restrictions are approved, people who need to bring in heavy vehicles for occasional uses, such as home construction or large deliveries, can apply for a permit from the town.

Truck drivers who use the restricted road without a permit could face fines of $250 to $1,000 for each violation.

An alternate route for trucks traveling to and from the Marston Road warehouse would be to take Washington Avenue in Waterville to Interstate 95, Bowman said.

Peter McGuire — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @PeteL_McGuire

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