Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Dave Carey said a newly rebuilt weigh station in Sterling will help protect the lifeline to the Peninsula, which is the Sterling Highway.
State and local officials helped cut the ribbon Thursday as the new weigh station in Sterling is finished and ready for use. The station, Carey said, will serve more than its obvious purpose.
"This facility, certainly we think of it as weighing, it's also very much to keep our roads safe and secure for all of us that are driving," Carey said.
Marc Luiken, commissioner of the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, said the new station replaces the one built in 1982 and it was time for an upgrade because wear of the scales.
"That's one of the important pieces is that we want to make sure we are weighing them accurately, and we have an accurate product to do that," Luiken said.
"It's to provide the commercial vehicle fleet the fairest look as possible."
The construction was done by Blazy Construction on time and under the $2.2 million budget.
"It's always good when local people get local projects," Carey said.
In terms of weigh stations, Carey said it is actually a good sign when they are closed because that means products are moving as usual and not causing problems on the roads.
"Selectively when things are at a good speed, OK, but when things are getting a little hot, they slow ‘em down," Carey said.
When the station is closed, commerce is moving at a reasonable pace, but if the station is open, then there may be concerns about the weight on the roads, which could cause expensive damage.
"We are ensuring that the infrastructure that we invest in, our roads specifically, last the length they're supposed to last," Luiken said. "If we've got trucks that are running over weight on our roads, they're going to tear them up a lot faster.
"It could cost more public money to either maintain them and or replace them, this is one of the tools we can use to make sure we're getting the best use of the infrastructure."