PLAISTOW — Truck drivers may soon have to find another way to navigate around town. The town is considering banning large commercial trucks from some side streets in an attempt to keep them on major roads such as Route 125.
“It is an ongoing problem we have where people try to bypass Route 125,” Selectman Daniel Poliquin said. “We’ve spoken with truck companies and they were cooperative and there’s been an effort to have drivers go through 125, even if it could take an additional 20 minutes.”
Town Manager Sean Fitzgerald said the town is considering banning trucks from Forest Street and Pollard Road.
“We’re just trying to have a more coordinated public strategy to limit these trucks,” he said. “We know truckers like to avoid hills and lights, but this impacts our own strategies when it comes to public and community safety.”
Fitzgerald said selectmen will discuss the maximum weight of trucks allowed on those roads in the coming weeks.
Poliquin said those two streets aren’t the only ones they are considering for the ban.
“Westville Road and Pollard Road are particularly bad,” he said. “Since Haverhill lifted a no-trucking ban on North Avenue, people have been using that road to cut across to Main Street before connecting back on to Route 125.”
Deputy police Chief Kathleen Jones said she would be in favor of more restrictions.
“We want them to go on main roads,” she said. “When they go through residential neighborhoods, it creates noise and pollution problems. We share the same concerns that residents have.”
Jones said there are already trucking restrictions on Wentworth Avenue and Kingston Road.
“We do try to enforce that,” she said. “Officers will issue a violation of ordinance which incorporates a fine. In the springtime, when traffic picks up, our officers do it constantly.”
Poliquin said he expected the board to pass the highway safety committee’s recommendation. The ban would be implemented on a six-month trial basis.
“We just want to see how effective it is, how much enforcement it requires and how it affects traffic on other roads,” he said.
In addition to limiting truck traffic, the town is also trying to curb speeding, especially on Main Street. Fitzgerald said the town hopes to add signs asking drivers to slow down through the center of town.
“We’ve done a lot of work in the area around Pollard School with our Safe Routes to School Grant,” he said. “Promoting a calmer and safer Main Street is very important to us.”
Jones said speeding on Main Street is a problem the town deals with routinely.
“It’s a constant concern and problem,” she said. “ As more residential areas pop up and we have an increase in population, it becomes a concern. It’s almost about the time where people like to crank up the radio and hit the accelerators. We are aggressive in the springtime and trying to crack down on it.”