DSC_3991No, this ain’t no rural love story.

That weight limit sign says 34 tons max, no matter how many axles you got on your tractor trailer rig and how far apart they are. Legal limit for all loads here in Minnesota is 40 tons, ‘cept farm products are allowed up to 49 and a half tons by permit. And those are good ol’ ‘merican short tons, not the 10% heftier metric tons. Lincoln county, pop. ~5000 or so, has around a hundred bridges, and darn near a quarter of them are damned by the overworked bridge inspectors and county engineers and officially labeled unsafe and overdue for replacement.

Now when a hilly and stream infested county of 500 odd squares miles and ~5000 odd people has a couple dozen bridges to replace, that’s a tall economic order. And that’s just the official number, when I added in the bridges that require evaluation and approval from that same overworked county engineer before even a 40+ ton tractor trailer rig can cross them, the number of bad bridges rises into the 30s. And these weight restrictions make it damn hard to farm or bring in giant wind turbines, which are the county’s number one and two economic engines respectively, excepting the county’s multiple nursing homes.

Which probably explains how Lincoln County got to be the county in Minnesota with the highest percentage of broken bridges, beating out #2 adjoining Pipestone County. Both Counties are represented in the legislature by the same republicans who shill for the nursing home industry which are darn near number one or two in patients/percapita in the state… While refusing to support even a “Keep up with inflation” gas tax increase to fix the busted bridges. And of course, they support increased truck weights so the can bust up more bridges even faster.

Sorry, teabaggers… You wanna play with 40+ ton trucks, you gotta pay at the pump!