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Passing Weight Limits on City Streets

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Reviewed Date: May 05, 2020

Original Author: 
Hemsley, Sid
Date of Material: 
Nov 7, 1994

Traffic--Laws and regulations
Streets--Laws and regulations

Passing Weight Limits on City Streets

MTAS was asked whether the town can pass weight limits upon its streets.

November 7, 1994

Your question is: Can the town pass weight limits upon its streets? The answer appears to be yes, even though there is no express statutory authority for it to do so.

In support of that answer I am enclosing the unreported case of Town of Smyrna v. Plisch, and Tennessee Attorney General's Opinion 243, dated Sept. 15, 1982. Note that with respect to the latter, the City of Troy is chartered under the general law mayor- aldermanic charter as is your city.

Another approach the city can take to overweight trucks is based on Town of Newport v. Brewer, 566 S.W.2d 873 (1978) in which the Tennessee Supreme Court held that a municipality can sue a carrier for damages arising from the carrier's unreasonable use of the municipality's streets. Presumably what is reasonable and unreasonable use would depend upon the facts in each case. I am also enclosing a copy of that case.


Sidney D. Hemsley
Senior Law Consultant


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