The Wilkes County commissioners approved a budget transfer of $371,000 during their Feb. 16 meeting for work to address traffic problems and related issues at the entrance to the county landfill in Roaring River.
County Manager John Yates said Wilkes Solid Waste Director Anderia Byrd is still seeking additional bids for the work.
A primary issue is that the line of vehicles at the landfill scale house frequently so long that it extends onto N.C. 268 East and interferes with traffic flow on the highway. Byrd said this occurs when more than about 11 vehicles are lined up at the scale house to be weighed or for counting bags of trash.
She said it became much more of a problem starting in 2020, apparently due to more people deciding to cut expenses by taking household garbage to the landfill instead of using a commercial trash hauler.
Work planned includes adding a parallel paved lane and a hut northeast of the scale house. One person would be in the new building collecting per-bag payments for bagged trash only. Yates said this will be built a far from N.C. 268 as possible to avoid having lines of vehicle extend to the highway.
Currently, a person working in the existing scale house collects payments based on weight for garbage not entirely in bags and also per-bag payments for bagged trash not weighed. Moving vehicles with bagged trash to a different line would shorten the line at the scale house.
When payment is based on weight, the vehicle hauling this garbage is weighed on the same scales before and after the garbage is dumped. This means the vehicle must return to the same line after its load is dumped.
Eddie Settle, chairman of the commissioners, said county officials believe people are sometimes driving away from the landfill without returning to the same line and paying after being weighed again.
Byrd said tare weight (without a load) of trucks used by major contract trash haulers in Wilkes is in the landfill billing system and this is used to calculate weight of trash loads and payments owed after one trip over the scales. “Auditors have said we need to weigh everyone coming in and going out because that tare weight is often off,” she said, referring to contract haulers.
She proposed adding a set of outbound scales costing about $150,000 for vehicles after trash is dumped. The new scales would be just west of the scale house. The weight of loads of garbage would thus be determined at the second scales and payment would be made there.
The also proposed building an office in the rear of the scale house to replace an office lost when outbound scales are installed, adding an office for the outbound scales operator and adding the outbound scales operator position.
The work also includes adding two bays with roll-off containers for bagged trash to expand the capacity of a nearby area of the landfill already designated for that purpose.
Yates said the project isn’t costly enough to require formal bids, which means advertising for sealed bids isn’t required.