Proposed changes to truck routes

Some routes tractor-trailers and other heavy trucks currently take on their way through Marietta will soon be changed, according to legislation recently introduced by Marietta’s City Council.

“Most of those routes are in the west side area, and some go back to the 1970s when there were industries like MSI (Magnetic Specialties Inc.) in the Harmar District. But there is no industry in the area now that would require such heavy truck traffic, ” said city law director Paul Bertram III.

He said some routes had also been temporarily changed to allow thru-truck traffic to travel various city streets during the Washington Street Bridge and Putnam Bridge improvement projects.

“Now council wants to change those routes back so that trucks passing through the city will no longer be allowed to travel on the streets,” Bertram added.

The legislation was introduced during the July 3 city council session.

“That was the first reading, but it has to go to the city traffic commission for the commission’s approval before the second and third readings of the ordinance,” Bertram said.

Councilwoman Kathy Downer, D-at large, who chairs the streets and transportation committee, said the issue came to light after a Virginia Street resident contacted fellow council member Tom Vukovic, D-4th Ward, about truck traffic being allowed on that roadway.

“He discovered the truck traffic was permitted on Virginia Street and other streets because after the bridge projects council didn’t change the legislation back to the pre-bridge projects routes,” she said. “This is not meant to be unfriendly to businesses or trucking companies, and the legislation doesn’t impact trucks making local deliveries.”

The need for better designation of truck routes has been evident for some time to Carrie Barth and her mom, Dorothy, who live on Lancaster Street, just below heavily-traveled Fort Harmar Drive (Ohio 7).

Northbound tractor-trailers and other large trucks, apparently looking for a short way through town, often make a right turn onto that end of Lancaster Street from Ohio 7 only to become stuck in a sharp bend in the roadway less than a block from the main highway.

“Last year we probably had at least one truck a week that got stuck because they couldn’t make that turn,” Carrie said. “Then the police have to come out and park (at the intersection with Fort Harmar Drive) until a tow truck can pull the truck out.”

She said some of the truck drivers have told her their GPS units indicate that area of Lancaster Street is OK for thru-truck traffic.

“They really need a sign that says ‘no large trucks’ at the intersection,” Dorothy added. “And one of the biggest concerns is the Washington County Boys and Girls Club just down the street where there are a lot of children every day.”

Both women were glad to hear that council is planning to make some truck route changes.

“I just dropped off the proposed legislation to the traffic commission today,” Downer said Monday. “They’ll consider it at their next meeting in August, then send it back to council with any recommendations for a second and third reading. And we want to give citizens and the trucking companies time to see what we’re planning to do.”