Truckers vow to fight proposed ban on two roads

October 14, 1994|By Katherine Richards | Katherine Richards,Sun Staff Writer

Representatives of the trucking industry vowed during a public hearing last night to fight the State Highway Administration's proposal to ban some heavy trucks from Routes 424 and 450 through Crofton.

Some residents displayed "Ban the Trucks" signs and said the vehicles pose a safety hazard in an area that has exploded with residential growth.

A divided audience of more than 100 applauded speakers on both sides of the issue during the hearing at Crofton Middle School.

The SHA proposal would bar trucks weighing more than 26,000 pounds from Route 424 between Route 3 and U.S. 50 from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily; and bar the trucks from Route 450 between Route 3 and Route 424 during those same hours.

Trucks traveling to or from local addresses are considered local traffic and would not be subject to the ban. Local traffic makes up the bulk of truck traffic on the affected roads, according to an SHA study.

In 1988, the state banned trucks weighing more than 10,000 pounds from Routes 424 and 450 through Crofton during nighttime hours Monday through Saturday and all day Sunday. That prohibition will remain in effect.

Robert T. Franklin, general counsel to the 1,000-member Maryland Motor Truck Association, said last night that the SHA's own study shows trucks pose no threat to safety in the area. He noted that the study said heavy trucks account for 6.6 percent of traffic on the affected roads but were involved in less than 3 percent of accidents in the area from 1990 to 1992.

Mr. Franklin said that according to the SHA report, the ban would force truckers to take detours at a cost of at least $400,000 a

year.

He said the trucking industry would fight the proposal in the State House and in the courts if necessary.

Several citizens and groups supported the ban, saying truck traffic is a threat on the roads, which contain winding sections with no shoulders and poor visibility.

"We're not against the trucking industry," said Barbara Swann, Crofton's town manager. "We just really want to protect the public safety and the general interests of the residents in this area."

Representatives of the Greater Crofton Council and the Crofton Athletic Council also supported the ban.

Mollie MacAdams said she spoke on behalf of students and bus drivers at Davidsonville Elementary School and called for greater regulation of truck traffic throughout the area.

She said that on narrow winding roads, the combination of speeding trucks and school buses "is a major disaster waiting to happen."

She said she was unsure whether to support the proposed ban, since it might divert truck traffic to other local roads.

The SHA will accept written comments on the proposal until Oct. 28. Comments may be sent to State Highway Administration District Engineer, District No. 5, Box 717, Baltimore 21203.

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