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Amendment will silence 'Jake brakes' in borough

February 15, 2007|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Once the signs are in place, the loud rumble of tractor-trailer "Jake brakes" should be silenced in Chambersburg after the Borough Council this week unanimously approved an amendment to its noise ordinance that bans the use of the devices.

The council last year adopted the noise ordinance with the intention of amending it later to ban the engine retarding devices that, on large diesel motors, release compressed air in the cylinders, causing the engine to lose power and slow the truck.

To be able to amend the noise ordinance, the borough had to secure the permission of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to ban engine retarders on U.S. 30, U.S. 11, Pa. 997 and other state-controlled roads that pass through Chambersburg.

That permission was received last year, and the council voted last month to advertise the amendment.

The halls of academia at Wilson College will be more peaceful with the ban in place.

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Before the vote, John Scarffe, the college's director of communications, told the council there was a lot of frustration among faculty, staff and students over the use of the retarders by tractor-trailers going through the turns on U.S. 11 adjacent to the campus.

The problem particularly was annoying during warm weather months when the windows are opened on some of the classroom buildings that do not have air conditioning.

Violators of the Jake brake ban will be subject to a $50 fine, Borough Manager Eric Oyer said. Signs warning truckers will be posted at 16 entrances to Chambersburg, including both state roads and borough streets, he said.

The signs will cost the borough about $3,200, Oyer said.

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