- Published on Thursday, 23 August 2012 22:07
- Written by Super User
The Wilmington City Council voted 6 to 1 Tuesday August 21, to adopt a resolution opposing the use of trucks with twin-trailers on Market Street between SR 1409 (Military Cutoff Road) and US 17 (John J. Burney Jr. Freeway) in New Hanover County.
By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
WILMINGTON, N.C. - The Wilmington City Council voted 6 to 1 Tuesday August 21, to adopt a resolution opposing the use of trucks with twin-trailers on Market Street between SR 1409 (Military Cutoff Road) and US 17 (John J. Burney Jr. Freeway) in New Hanover County.
Trucking companies sometimes use twin trailers for large trucks transporting goods in order to maximize loads per trip.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation is in the process of designating US 17 Business (Market Street) between SR 1409 (Military Cutoff Road) and US 17 (John Jay Burney Jr. Freeway) in New Hanover County for use by trucks with twin trailers. The North Carolina Department of Transportation has requested comments on this designation by September 6, 2012.
The 2011 Wilmington Metropolitan Planning Organization’s traffic counts on Market Street in this area range from 34,400 to 50,780 vehicles per day. The Market Street Corridor Study evaluated crashes along Market Street, between Colonial Drive and Porters Neck Road, for a three-year period from July 2005 to June 2008. The study indicated that Market Street, in the section studied, had a thirty percent higher occurrence of crashes than comparable corridors. If enacted, the designation would permit trucks with twin-trailers to traverse Market Street between SR 1409 and US 17 in New Hanover County.
City Manager Sterling B. Cheatham explained to the Council in a memo, "As demonstrated by vehicle counts and excessive crash rates, Market Street currently has significant traffic and safety issues. The addition of twin-trailer trucks would further increase traffic and compromise safety conditions on this heavily traveled corridor. Opposition to NCDOT’s designation of portions of Market Street for use by twin-trailer trucks is recommended. Passage of the resolution furthers the Council's focus area of Safe Community."
The area mentioned is outside of the City limits but Council member Laura Padgett said, "That's an extremely busy area" and if permitted, "The temptation will be to continue into the City when they get to the City limits because there may not be anywhere else to go. And to add twin-trailers to that area strikes me as just not making sense from a public safety view point."
Councilman Charlie Rivenbark said tractor-trailer trucks drive that road frequently and, "I'm not getting the safety part of it."
Padgett said, "Right now it's single tractor trailers... the additional weight creates additional stopping space. The trailers have the potential to swing out. It's a much bigger piece of equipment on the road. It blocks more view of other drivers. There are a number of issues with these twin-trailers."
She said, "In my opinion. If that was not so heavily a traveled road, I don't like the twin trailers anywhere but I could live with them if the traffic and number of crashes were not so significant on that road already."
The resolution would simply show opposition to permitting such tractor-trailer trucks hauling twin trailers.
Councilman Kevin O'Grady asked if there was any data on the economic impact to companies using twin trailers and if that was a concern?
Padgett said, "I'm sure the reason trucking firms want to use the twin - and in some areas of the country triple trailers - because it's cheaper the more you haul at one time. But is that worth the risk to lives and property?"
Mike Kozlosky, Executive Director of the Wilmington Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization explained they are allowed within City limits on Military Cutoff Road and Oleander Drive in certain areas.
He said the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), "Is also looking at designating the Wilmington Bypass from where it begins in the northern part of New Hanover County all the way down to the Brunswick County and US 74/76 interchange for the use of these trucks with twin trailers which would then sign these twin trailers outside of the city utilizing the Wilmington Bypass which is a controlled access facility."
Kozlosky said the concern for the Market Street area is due to poor access management with numerous driveway cuts, traffic counts, as well as the crash rate on Market Street.
He said Market Street has a crash rate of twice the state's average of similar roads. He said those concerns lead to the resolution proposed to oppose use of twin trailers in that area.
Councilman Neil Anderson said there's a disconnect if they're permitted on some roads and not others. He said, "They'll just drive on through."
Kozlosky said that issue came up and there has been discussion requesting prohibiting use on the other roads within City limits.
The Council voted six to one with Councilman Charlie Rivenbark voting against the resolution.
(Graphic: Texas Department of Transportation)