By EMMALEE C. TORISK
In the 35 years that John Kimock has lived on Robinson Road, he’s occasionally seen tractor-trailers passing through his residential neighborhood.
But since bridge-repair work began early last week at s tate Route 616 and U.S. Route 422, he’s noticed many trucks have opted to bypass the mandated detour — and have instead cut through his neighborhood, particularly down Robinson and Struthers-Liberty roads.
It’s a more-convenient route, albeit an illegal and dangerous one, police officials said.
At about 11 a.m. Friday, a Schneider Regional semi cutting down Kimock’s street got caught in and snapped low-hanging power lines.
“Live wires were lying there for minutes, all the way through the intersection,” Kimock said. “Trucks shouldn’t be using this [road] as a detour, when it’s clearly marked what they should be using. It’s jeopardizing the well-being of residents.”
The police officer investigating the incident cited the truck driver for violating the city’s law against tractor-trailers using local streets.
In the past, officers have dealt with a handful of similar, but isolated, incidents, such as those where a wrong turn sent a truck driver into a neighborhood, said interim police Chief Drew Rauzan.
In the past week, though, police have made more than 20 stops, and written more than half as many citations for the violation of Section 339.02 of the city’s traffic code on use of local streets.
If citations aren’t issued, Rauzan said, there will be no reason for drivers to stay away during the 90-day closure, especially since the detour significantly reroutes and adds several miles to the trucks headed toward Pennsylvania.
“We’ve been writing tickets left and right,” Rauzan said, adding that each ticket for the minor misdemeanor carries a fine of $178. “By no means do I want my officers to target truckers or target commerce, but if we don’t take this course of action, there could be serious consequences.”
Tractor-trailers typically are permitted only on state routes or designated truck routes, because the city’s residential neighborhoods just can’t handle their sustained traffic, Rauzan said.
“Our streets are not designed for it. Three months of the amount of trucks we’re getting could cause a lot of damage,” he said, adding that officers have received dozens of complaints from neighborhood residents.
“The police department is out of options at this point. We’re paid by these people, so if they have problems, we have problems.”