The village of Coal City will consider an aggressive new ordinance that will eliminate the ability of trucks to travel along the majority of village-controlled roadways.
Last week, members of the Village Board heard the first reading of an ordinance that would amend the traffic code, creating a truck route, establishing vehicle size, weight and load limits and creating an oversize and overweight permitting system.
Village Administrator Matt Fritz said as industrial development increases on the outskirts of the village, the time has come to seriously consider the potential damage trucks could have on village streets.
“It seems as though restricting truck traffic overall is just the best solution,” Fritz said.
The proposed ordinance would restrict trucks over 10-tons from traveling on nearly all village streets.
The new truck route designation would not affect roads under the control of another municipality, the county or the state, allowing trucks to travel along Route 113, Reed Road, and south Broadway between Reed and Spring Roads.
Fritz added that the village had been planning to restrict truck traffic on Broadway after construction there is complete. A large scale operation is currently underway to rebuild a large section of Broadway from the railroad tracks to Route 113.
That means trucks from D Construction, which sits just south of the residential areas on Broadway, will need a new route to reach Route 113 on the way to Route 47 or I-55.
The proposal carves out just two village-owned streets as exceptions – Fifth Avenue and North Street. Keeping those roadways as truck routes would allow trucks to continue to operate at Chicago Aerosol on the village’s north side.
“All of the other truck traffic would have to go on routes that are under the control of other governmental entities,” Fritz said.
The ordinance does not apply to fire equipment, garbage trucks, snow plows, farm equipment, or local deliveries.
“What it’s really doing is prohibiting truck through traffic,” village attorney Mark Heinle said. “It doesn’t mean that the grocery store is not going to get stocked or your Amazon delivery won’t be able to come to your house on a truck.”
Heinle did call the proposal “aggressive,” and said the village might want to get input from the public and business owners before signing off on the creation of the routes.
“If you adopt this, which is a much stricter set-up, we’re going to have to post signage anywhere that you want to enforce that,” Heinle said. “Because we’re essentially saying, with only a couple of exceptions, trucks can’t go anywhere in the village, you’ll have a significant sign budget.”
Mayor Terry Halliday said the issue reflects a need for an overhaul to truck routes countywide.
“The reality is, in Grundy County, we need a better transportation route for our trucking,” Halliday said. “That means a better collaboration between the villages and county. And quite frankly, I don’t think the county has stepped up, at least south of the river.”
“Why should I as a municipality worry about allowing these big trucks to come down my main street, then have to worry about having to repair that street as a result of that,” Halliday said. “We’re not trying to make it more difficult for anybody who has a business here at all. It’s trying to deal with the fact that in reality we don’t have a good regional transportation policy down in Grundy County.
In some ways, if this helps force that, so be it.”
Village officials said they would seek out more discussion and feedback on the issue before moving ahead with adopting the ordinance.
The ordinance is set for adoption Aug. 28.