Transportation Careers – Bill King, Louisiana Department of Transportation

We’d been seeing sugar cane trucks and these
overloaded vehicles go down our highways and certainly everybody has noticed how different
the highways become once those commodities are delivered or trucked or hauled to the
different locations and what have you because these trucks are all overloaded. They’re heavier
than what we actually allow on the highways. So our legislature and actually in this case
the sugar cane industry wanted to actually up that load and actually haul greater loads
than what we had. So the legislature legislative actions came
out and they wanted us as a research group to look at that and say, “Okay, what’s happening.” And
so we did and we had we contracted with Louisiana Tech University and they began a study on
looking at just sugar cane trucks and what kind of damage they actually do. And when
we found out that you know we charge a hundred dollars a year, per truck, for them to be
able to haul an overloaded vehicle. A vehicle normally weighs eighty thousand pounds.
We allow that. They get a permit to go up to a hundred thousand pounds with the same
truck. And in doing so it puts about it puts over fifty-five hundred dollars per truck per
year of damage to our roads. And so when you add that up over the years that’s an enormous
amount of money. So what we finally discovered was that well if we add a third axle to that
we actually save money. We don’t damage our roadway system anymore. Because when you start
moving the loads out and you distribute the loads. Then the load then then you’re not
doing near as much damage to your highway system.
We looked at the greater hundred and twenty thousand pound deal and we saw that if we
went even with this third axle that we would be doing even more, a little more damage than
what we are actually doing today or were doing at that time til we made the resolution and
so… The state’s laws are called revised statutes
and so the legislature modified one of the revised statutes 387.7… and modified it
to where it would be if a sugar cane farmer wanted to haul greater loads than eighty thousand
pounds then he had to put the third axle on there. It was a mandate and so it’s in law.
And by doing that though he actually gets a tax incentive as well.
Our job is to actually just put out the research and what it shows and we did and we put that
to the legislature. The legislature decided to do the revised statutes. Not us. We didn’t
say you got to do that. But what we said that if you continue on on this path, you know
then you cause the department a whole lot more money. Because the department has to
maintain those roads, they have to rehabilitate them and you know they have to reconstruct
them at some point in time if they get so bad.
The Superdome had just been built down in New Orleans and we were traveling along that
way with a group and there was a civil engineering guy that was in the car with us and I said
yeah, I’m planning on going into architecture and that’s what I want to do you know. And
he says well you know the better part of that is the structural part of all of that. So
that sparked my interest right then and there and so that’s what I wanted to do. Then I
got to looking at the curriculum and then I noticed that architecture was going to take
a lot longer time you know. And architects you know are great folks and everything it
just takes them a long time to get established and things.
And so that engineering would be more of a probably quicker impact.
You know one of the things in looking at the careers in civil engineering when I did get
to looking at that and decide on that career is all the different facets of it. You have
a structural group. Then you have transportation which is filled with all different kinds.
Today our civil engineering has incorporated the environmental aspect. And environmental
I mean it’s crazy. You know there’s a lot of people who are going into this environmental
issue. People say you get bored with something then
you go do something else. Well, it’s not really being bored it’s just wanting to learn something new.
You know certainly if you’re not happy in what you’re doing you need to get out and
go find yourself. Be happy in what you’re doing that’s what you really need to do.