M’boro residents praise DOT ordinance

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 16, 2004

MURFREESBORO – Relief. That was the sentiment expressed by Murfreesboro residents here Tuesday.

The relief came during a meeting conducted by the Murfreesboro Town Council as they discussed a decision made by the North Carolina Department of Transportation to place &uot;NO THRU TRUCKS&uot; signs up along US 158 Business from the intersection with US 258/NC 11 to the intersection of US 158/258 in Northampton County.

Council members listened as citizens expressed concern over trucks speeding through the residential area and suggested lowering the speed limit.

&uot;It’s disturbing to stand on my front porch and witness 18-wheelers repeatedly driving by at speeds sometimes in excess of 55 mph,&uot; said resident Jay Revelle. &uot;I don’t think residents in the community want to impair business, but we would like to see them (the truckers) slow down.&uot;

DOT initially posted a light road ordinance of 13,000 pounds axel weight for SR 1302 and assigned a truck route along US 158 and US 258 around Murfreesboro in addition to the NO THRU TRUCKS signs.

&uot;According to DOT, the signs are unenforceable without an ordinance limiting the weight of the vehicles,&uot; said Town Administrator Molly Eubank.

When the truck route was established, DOT was supposed to have removed the NO THRU TRUCK signs and replaced them with ones that stated the appropriate weight limit restrictions.

In a letter to the town, D.W. Chad Edge III, NCDOT Division Traffic Engineer, proposed following through on the initial intent to remove the existing signs and replace them with ones that specifically displayed a weight limitation of 13,000 pounds of gross vehicle weight instead of axel weight.

In addition to residents’ complaints about compromised safety and excessive speed, frustration was expressed over the noise created as a result.

&uot;You cannot sleep with your windows open without being disturbed by the clamor of trucks barreling down the street,&uot; said Tim Horchler.

However, despite their irritation, citizens seemed to be in agreement that the ordinance was &uot;the perfect solution&uot; to a long-standing problem.

As far as local law enforcement’s role in the matter is concerned, details are still being worked out.

&uot;We’ll have to wait and see what requirements will be placed on the police department to determine whether we will need special equipment to weigh the trucks or if we will be able to derive that information through some other verification process,&uot; said Murfreesboro Police Chief Darrell Rowe. &uot;But, regardless of the details at this point, we will do our job in a fair and unbiased manner towards all.&uot;

On the other hand, general statute does not prohibit trucks whose destination is located solely on a particular highway or street from making their ascribed deliveries. The law does intend, however, to prevent trucks that have &uot;no business&uot; in those areas from driving unnecessarily through.

According to Town Attorney Bob Lee, Jr., since the ordinance has been in place since May 26, 1995 and is within DOT jurisdiction, the town should have no objection in the posting of proper signage.