Anybody at the Idaho Transportation Department or the trucking company that wants to roll 129,000-pound vehicles through the heart of the Treasure Valley 1,750 times a year is asking us to:
▪ Hold our breath five times a day as one of these behemoths passes through busy Boise, Garden City and Meridian intersections and rumbles through an elementary school zone.
▪ Suspend reality while these trucks and their 64 tons of cargo (lumber, steel, grain and fertilizer) contribute to traffic jams on roads already at or near capacity.
▪ Overlook the fact that most mayors, officials, Ada County and the Ada County Highway District are opposed.
▪ Consider different detour routes in 2016 when the Broadway Bridge is shut down for nine months.
Now, granted, the Arlo G. Lott Trucking company — which is seeking the application for the larger trucks — is already delivering essentially the same cargo on 105,500-pound trucks.
The rationale is that there would be fewer trucks making the trips if they could carry 129,000 pounds and that the cargo would be more evenly distributed because the bigger trucks have an extra axle: less trips, lighter overall footprint on the roads.
That is all well and good, but we don’t see the long-term benefits of allowing larger trucks to use urban areas as delivery routes. Where does it end?
We have to side with Boise, Meridian and ACHD officials in saying no thank you. The priority here is public safety and adhering to existing laws governing the weight of truck transports. If we’re going to make exceptions, let’s do it in less populated areas along more remote routes.
We understand that among ITD’s mission is the customer service factor of assisting motorists — ranging from citizens to corporations — to get them and their cargo from Point A to Point B. But this is a case where we feel these urban areas would be assuming most of the risk in order to make the truck exceptions. Plus, the cargo is already being delivered on the 105,500-pound trucks.
ITD has completed its evaluation of the the Lott application and conducted a public hearing. A subcommittee at ITD will be considering the truck trips as soon as this month, or perhaps in early 2016.
We hope ITD comes to the same conclusion as almost every other Treasure Valley stakeholder: Bigger is not necessarily better in a complicated urban setting.
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