Safety to go
NWT gets its new mobile weigh station

by Richard Gleeson
Northern News Services

NNSL (Feb 20/98) - It's a weigh station on wheels, a self-contained mobile office and home-on-the-road for those responsible for keeping our roads safe.

The Department of Transportation yesterday welcomed the members of the public aboard the territories' first mobile inspection vehicle. Starting Monday, it will be stationed at various locations in the Western Arctic.

"It allows us to go where the trucks are and provide the same services as a fixed weigh scale," explained Mark Schauerte, assistant director of the department's motor vehicles division.

Schauerte pointed out that vehicle traffic flows change dramatically in the North from winter to summer. A mobile monitoring station is an ideal way of dealing with those changes, he said.

The vehicle's first stop will be the turnaround at the intersection of Highway 3 and Old Airport Road. Echo Bay uses the turnaround as a staging station for vehicles headed for mines north of Yellowknife.

Through the rest of the year, it will move between the Yellowknife, Fort Simpson and Fort Liard areas.

Thanks to a satellite telephone, the office in the back of the vehicle is linked to the GNWT's mainframe computer and all the driver and licence data it contains. With computer, fax and printer, the vehicle can also issue vehicle registration and load permits.

The home half of the truck has a kitchen, shower and sleeping quarters. Fully stocked, it will be a self-contained home away from home for up to seven days for two people.

The department took delivery of the 10-tonne vehicle last month. Schauerte said the $160,000 price tag represents big long-term savings for the government.

"My guess is a weigh-scale in the Yellowknife area would cost between $1 million and $2 million to build," said Schauerte, adding operation and maintenance costs for a new station would be approximately $200,000.

Mobile weigh stations are used in almost all southern jurisdictions.