Ahoskie establishes truck route

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 12, 2005

AHOSKIE – In an effort to slow down the deterioration of its streets, Town of Ahoskie officials voted here Tuesday to begin active enforcement of truck routes with the town’s limits.

The issue first came to light during the February Town Council meeting. There, Ahoskie’s elected leaders heard a plea from Public Works Director Bryan Lewis and Police Chief Troy Fitzhugh dealing with a growing problem – heavy trucks inflicting serious damage on town streets. Lewis told Council members that the town’s non-truck route streets were not built for heavy use by vehicles that exceed 10,000 pounds in gross weight.

According to Town Ordinance 15-39, truck traffic is allowed on designated truck routes as well as on other streets as long as that purpose is solely for the delivery or pick-up of goods at business or residential locations. Section 51-539 prohibits vehicles with a gross weight exceeding 10,000 pounds from parking overnight in a residential district or parking for more than two hours at any one time on any non-designated street.

Town Manager Tony Hammond wanted it make it clear that there was no town ordinance on the books that prevented large trucks from parking overnight in authorized or designated areas. He said the issue at hand addressed truck routes and the ordinance that prohibits overnight truck parking in residential areas.

Hammond suggested that Council members consider and adopt the proposed truck route, advertise the route in the newspaper for two months and begin enforcement in May.

&uot;This in no way restricts truckers from performing their jobs, which is to deliver goods to businesses and residences here in town,&uot; Hammond said. &uot;But we need to designate the truck routes and enforce the ordinances dealing with overnight parking in non-designated or residential areas.&uot;

At last month’s meeting, it was mentioned that the town may attempt to help the owners/drivers of these large trucks find appropriate places to park overnight.

Addressing liability concerns, Hammond said, &uot;We don’t need to get into the business of finding places for truckers to park overnight. I would suggest that they need to find a place to park, one within the parameters of the town ordinance.&uot;

Lewis, reiterating his remarks made during last month’s Council meeting, said, &uot;Our streets are being torn-up on a daily basis. We’ve got to do something now before they begin to further deteriorate.&uot;

From the audience, James Roehl of Ahoskie asked to address the Council.

Identifying himself as a truck driver who resides on Carolina Avenue, Roehl said, &uot;Does my truck tear-up a street worse than a car, yes it does. But I pay 80 percent more taxes for my truck than does the owner of a car. That money makes its way back to Ahoskie for street repair.&uot;

Roehl went on to say that he doesn’t want to drive his truck around town for personal reasons, but it’s something he is forced to do.

After hearing both sides of the issue, Council members adopted all three of Hammond’s recommendations. The latter of those issues – enforcing the ordinance – may be addressed again at the Council’s next scheduled meeting on April 12. There, Council members may possibly discuss raising the fine, currently at $25, for those found in violation of ordinance 51-359. That fine may be increased to a minimum of $100.

As part of their approval, Council members updated and filed, with the Town Clerk’s office, a list of designated streets within town that can be used as truck routes. Those streets include all NC and US routes – Highway 13 (Academy St. and Memorial Drive), Highway 561 (First Street), NC 42, Main St. and Catherine Creek Road. Also included are all or portions of Hayes, Rogers, Railroad and Rhue streets.