Bloomington Council Slows Truck Route Plan

Feb 20, 2017

The Bloomington City Council turned down a consultant's plan for new truck route rules.
Credit Mike Miletich / WGLT

A redesign of truck routes in Bloomington probably won't change where commercial haulers go all that much. Aldermen signaled in a work session Monday night they want to keep the current case-by-case restriction policy, for now.

"Sometimes we don't want trucks on bridges," said Public Works Director Jim Karch. "For example, Cottage Avenue has a bridge weight-limit on it and there are concerns if you have heavy trucks on it. You could actually have failure of the bridge."

Karch also said some restrictions encourage truck drivers to stay on state routes.

Citizen complaints about truck traffic on Clinton Boulevard had prompted the staff to hire a consultant to recommend new routes for trucks weighing between 8,000 and 80 thousand pounds.

While the truck route plan didn't gain support at the work session, ward four Alderman Amelia Buragas said the issue will likely come up again as the council and staff work to transform the Staff Traffic Advisory Committee. The committee reviews traffic and transportation issues. The committee will likely become a public commission. 

"This kind of change in the way traffic moves through our community would require an extensive amount of public input and careful consideration. We are in the process of making changes to the transportation planning process to make it more transparent and to provide more opportunities for public comment early in the process," said Buragas. "Once we have made those changes, we will be in a better position to tackle tough questions like a comprehensive truck route policy. In the meantime, it makes sense to maintain the status quo."

Karch said ignoring the consultant report avoids $40 thousand in implementation costs. Karch added the study would have changed restrictions on different types of arterial roads.

"That's similar to what Springfield, Illinois had done and other communities as well. Naperville and some others tried to start an overall framework and then you make modifications from there," said Karch.

Staff said the plan would be difficult to enforce because police would have to determine the origin and destination of trucks.

Karch also said the study could have changed the number of truck routes in the area.

Editor's Note: This story was updated to include information about the city's transportation committee and comments from Alderman Buragas.