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posted: 6/4/2014 5:30 AM

Bartlett trustees to toughen rules for truck drivers

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Bartlett trustees plan to stiffen rules for truck drivers after receiving complaints about industrial rigs cutting through residential neighborhoods and the heart of the historic downtown.

Fearing an influx of trucks could create traffic headaches and damage roads not designed to hold the heavy load, village officials tasked police with studying the issue.

Officers interviewed businesses in Brewster Creek industrial park and outside of Bartlett, as well as drivers whose trucks appeared to exceed the village's weight restrictions.

"This is really what the community is kind of in an uproar about," said Police Chief Kent Williams, showing trustees a picture of one hauler Tuesday night. "The downtown gets kind of congested with these style trucks."

The department's analysis mapped routes and found an increase in truck traffic.

Drivers traveling on Lake Street tend to cut through Bartlett -- via North Avenue -- to head south on Route 59. Navigation systems consider that the most direct course, too, Williams said.

The village currently bans trucks heavier than 16,000 pounds.

"Some know they're violating and cheating," Williams said. "Others are just following their GPS."

Either way, the village "can really put a dent in this issue," Williams said, with three steps.

First, trustees informally agreed Tuesday to bar trucks with a gross vehicle mass of more than 12,000 pounds. The village board also wants to install more signs alerting drivers to the changes. And Williams recommended moving existing signs to more "user-friendly" locations.

The crackdown, officials say, would not harm businesses in town.

"This is not an effort to go out and write a bunch of truck drivers tickets or make any hardships for truck drivers either within the community or outside the community," Trustee Eric Shipman said.

The weight limits would not apply to trucks making deliveries to Bartlett homes or businesses.

The village board still must sign off on an ordinance crafted by police and public works. The panel also will review findings from a consultant hired for $20,000 to study traffic patterns across Bartlett.

But officers have already begun to educate local companies about the proposed regulations, Williams said.

"The trucking traffic has a very strong word-of-mouth," he said. "You only have to write a few (tickets) and it wakes up the whole western suburbs in the Chicago metropolitan area."

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