Dependable Erection

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


What are they thinking down in Raleigh?
The state Senate on Tuesday passed and sent to the House a far-reaching measure to put longer trucks, wider boats and some heavier farm commodity trucks on North Carolina roads.

Trucking and business interests have pushed for the Senate proposal to let 53-foot tractor-trailers use all primary highways -- replacing a 48-foot limit on most roads.

Hey, this is probably not a bad idea for the interstates and 4 & 6 lane divided highways. But all primary highways? Here's the N&O breakdown on the changes involved:
NOW: 48 feet is the length limit on most roads. Tractor-trailers 53 feet long are allowed on about 5,600 miles -- mostly interstates and other major U.S. highways -- and on connecting roads for three miles in each direction. Local governments can ban the long trucks on major highways that pass through towns.

PROPOSED: 53-footers would be allowed on more than 20,000 miles of primary highways -- all interstates and highways labeled "U.S." or "N.C." -- and on connecting roads for 3 miles in each direction. This covers about 90 percent of the state's road network, according to the state Department of Transportation.

Well, as long as individual cities and town will be able to decide whether or not the roads in their town are suitable for this kind of traffic, no big deal, right? After all, Alston Ave. and Avondale Dr. are NC 55 through much of Durham, and at about 22 feet wide through much of their residential areas, the city transportation department might be persuaded to tell those trucks to find another route between I-85 and NC 147. (East End Connector, anyone?)

But wait.
Local governments and the DOT would lose their power to bar long trucks. DOT officials could propose banning 53-foot trucks from certain highways where studies "clearly show" they do not belong -- but legislators would make the decision.

why is it that every time i turn around, some idiots down in the State Legislature are telling North Carolina cities and towns what they can and cannot do to regulate the quality of life within their own city limits? It's getting to be time to start thinking about changing the parts of the state charter that require municipalities to get permission from Raleigh every time they want to make a decision about what life in their own towns should look like.

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