DOUBLE SPRINGS - Signs reading “No Through Trucks” need to either be taken down or a local ordinance enforced to stop large, semi-trucks from using Blake Drive as a detour from Highway 278 to Highway 195, Double Springs Police Chief Kim Miller said.
This issue was presented to Double Springs Mayor Elmo Robinson and the town council during the Monday, July 12 meeting. Currently Blake Drive, which connects to Highway 278 and travels through a portion of Double Springs before intersecting with Highway 195 at the Winston County Courthouse, is being used by large semi-trucks and other large freight-hauling trucks, posing a danger, Miller pointed out.
“Right now, we have trucks using it as a cutoff to keep from going to the intersection of 278 and 195, when they are going south,” said Miller.
“They are coming through by the courthouse, which is really not an appropriate road,” the chief added. “The road is not striped, marked or actually big enough for an 18-wheeler.”
Another concern is that once 18-wheelers turn from Blake Drive onto 195, they are moving large rigs into traffic by making wide turns, causing another hazard, the police chief explained.
The road can be very congested in that area, with offices of the probate judge, revenue commissioner and board of education offices being located along 195 where these large trucks turn.
“I have had people complain because trucks are coming through there (on Blake Curve) like crazy now,” Miller pointed out.
Miller said he has sought the ordinance to back up the No Through Truck signs that are posted on the road, but that he could not locate an ordinance.
Alabama Code Title 32-1-3, relating to motor vehicles and traffic, reads that local authorities may by ordinance or resolution prohibit the operation of vehicles upon any highways or impose restrictions as to the weight of vehicles when operated upon any highway under the jurisdiction of and for the maintenance of which such local authorities are responsible.
Such roadways can become deteriorated...seriously damaged or destroyed, unless the use of vehicles thereon is prohibited or the permissible weights reduced, state code reads.
In such cases, authorities enacting any such ordinance or resolution shall erect or cause to be erected and maintained signs with such ordinance not in effect until such signs are erected, state code reads.
“Local authorities may also by ordinance or resolution prohibit the operation of trucks or other commercial vehicles or impose limitations as to the weight thereof on designated highways,” state code reads.
“Each individual municipality sets its own laws and rules on their city streets,” said Miller.
“To me, it’s a safety thing because we have a new DHR that’s going to have a lot of traffic in and out. The driveway (to the DHR building) has a rise in the road which is a blind spot,” Miller pointed out. “Plus the street itself is not designed for that type of traffic.”
Although the chief has not yet received any reports of near-incidents regarding 18-wheelers on the city street, residents on the street do not like the truck traffic that is coming through, the chief reported.
However, trucks must be allowed on city streets in order to make deliveries to local businesses, town officials discussed.
“Generally, as a passageway from one street to another, they’re using it to cut from 278 to 195. It’s not designed for that,” Miller said. “They are trying to cut off a mile and a half.
“The streets were not built to have 80,000 pounds of traffic running on them all of the time,” Miller said. “I don’t know of any city street that is designed to have big trucks run on it all the time.”
Miller requested the council either remove the No Through Truck signs on Blake Drive or pass an ordinance restricting large trucks except for those making deliveries to local businesses.
“I do feel there is a need to stop through traffic from big trucks through there,” said Miller, adding he has stopped big rigs and reminded them they were driving on a street with signs that read No Through Trucks.
Truck drivers, in turn, informed Miller their GPS had sent them on that route, police said.
“I have asked the council to create an ordinance that is enforceable and also post better signs so truck drivers are aware it will actually be illegal for them to come through there,” Miller stated. “In one day, I counted six trucks in a two-hour time frame.”
Miller requested the council adopt an ordinance to prevent all through trucks on all city streets and put up signs larger than the 12X12 signs on the road now.
The chief suggested that no trucks over 26,000 pounds be allowed on city streets.
“That is the key,” noted Council Attorney Jeff Mobley. “You have to figure a cut-off that has a rationale limit.”
“What are we going to do about people who live on one of the city streets that drive a big truck and park it there?” Robinson asked.
Miller responded he did not know.
“We really don’t have the money to be repaving roads, that’s for sure,” noted council member Tim Cockrell.
Mobley asked if the town had any ordinance that specifically addressed the issue.
“I don’t think there is,” Robinson responded.
“You really need a supportive ordinance,” Miller said, noting the state code gives the town permission to enforce laws on city streets.
“I would like to see us do it for all the streets,” Robinson noted.
“I’m like Tim. We can’t afford to just go out here and keep repaving these roads,” added council member Andy McSpadden.
Mobley noted the town needed to do its own ordinance.
“Is that alright with everybody, for us to start working on (an ordinance)?” the mayor asked. All council members present agreed.
Robinson stressed the town needed to have an ordinance ready by the next meeting.
See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.