Truck Route Limits Approved

SNOW HILL – A new truck route ordinance has been passed in Worcester County despite the vocal protests of one commissioner.

At the Nov. 16 meetnig, the issue of possible road damage by truck traffic on several county roads, including Cyprus, New Bridge, Hillman, Dun Swamp, and Tulls Corner, was brought to the commission’s attention. Commissioner Merrill Lockfaw, who was not a member of the commission at that time, wrote a letter describing the problem and asking for assistance in keeping heavy trucks off of those roads. A resolution to enforce an official route beginning on Unionville Road was proposed. However, the specifics of the route were unclear and the issue was tabled.

At Tuesday’s commissioner’s meeting, the matter was reopened and passed. Sonny Bloxom, the county attorney, presented the commissioners with a resolution providing the exact language and parameters of the ordinance.

In essence, no thru trucks weighing over 15,000 pounds Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) will be allowed on any of the roads in question and will instead have to follow signage for the truck route.

“Language is key,” he said, referring to the fact that the route will only apply to “thru” trucks, which is to say, trucks that are only using the roads as shortcuts to pass “through” the area. The new ordinance would not apply to local vehicles with local business, such as farm trucks and school busses, even though they will exceed the 15,000 pounds GVW.

When it came time to vote, newly elected Lockfaw asked if he should abstain, as his letter had an impact on the issue. The other commissioners did not see any conflict of interest, however, and Lockfaw remained.

Before the votes could be cast, Commissioner Virgil Shockley made it clear that he did not support the document in its current format. Shockley compared the resolution to using a “sledgehammer to kill a mosquito.” He claimed that by placing the limit at 15,000 pounds GVW the county would be asking for trouble, as many police officers would have difficulty estimating the exact weight of trucks. Instead, Shockley brought up the previous idea of having the limit placed on number of axles on a vehicle.

“The first ticket they write you’ll be in court,” he said. “You’re setting yourselves up.”

However, none of his fellow commissioners believed the current details to be an issue and all but Shockley voted the for the truck route with the 15,000 pounds GVW limitation.