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New truck laws set to go into effect soon

June 28, 2004|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

Now that Charles Town officials have invested $7.1 million in the downtown area, they are going to protect it.

The main concern is truck traffic.

Trucks making turns at the intersection of George and Washington streets - the main intersection in town - have run over curbs and hit utility poles in the past, said Charles Town Police Chief Mike Aldridge.

With granite curbs in place at the intersection as part of the downtown revitalization work, city officials want to make sure that does not continue to happen, according to Aldridge.

About a month and half ago, the Charles Town City Council passed a law making it illegal for any vehicles 35 feet in length or longer to make right turns at the intersection, Aldridge said.

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There is enough room at the intersection for left turns, he said.

Violation of the law is a misdemeanor and carries a fine of $100 to $500, Aldridge said.

Although the council passed the law weeks ago, the city has been preparing for the change by installing signs that notify truck drivers of the new law, Aldridge said.

Aldridge said the police officers will be writing warning tickets this week for any violations of the law and probably will start issuing citations after the July 4th holiday.

Also going into effect is a new law that requires trucks to cover loads of material such as dirt, sand, gravel, wood chips and concrete as they pass through town, Aldridge said.

City Council members drafted the law after residents, primarily in the East Washington Street area, began complaining about debris falling off trucks onto East Washington Street, Aldridge said.

The problem has become prevalent with the increase of residential development in the Charles Town area, Aldridge said.

Under the law, vehicles carrying loose materials must have sideboards or panels on the sides of the vehicle, a board or panel on the front, a tailgate or board on the back and a covering on top, Aldridge said.

Violation of the law also carries a fine of $100 to $500, he said.

Like the no turning law, police will write warnings for any violations of the loose material law this week and probably start issuing citations for any violations after the July 4th holiday, Aldridge said.

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