Truckers driving big rigs through Rossville will need to stay on U.S. Highway 27 -- or face a $141 fine.
That's according to an ordinance the Rossville City Council approved Monday night that was prompted by big trucks using McFarland Avenue as a shortcut, Mayor Teddy Harris said.
When heavy trucks damage city streets, "we have to fix it," Harris said. "That's not good."
As for U.S. 27, "We don't have to keep it up. So they [trucks] can use it," he said.
Lately, the truck traffic has been "unbelievable" on McFarland Avenue, Harris said. A city official recently counted 18 trucks using the street in a 20-minute period, he said. The city repaved McFarland Avenue two years ago, using federal stimulus money, and wants to be "proactive" in protecting it, Harris said.
"It's so difficult to get transportation money. We need to save the street," Harris said.
If Georgia's voters don't pass a 1 cent, 10-year statewide transportation special purpose local option sales tax on July 31, "that road will not get paved for another 10 to 15 years," he said.
Rossville police officers will start enforcing the new rule after the city installs signs designating U.S. 27 as Rossville's only truck route, Public Safety Director Sid Adams said.
"They'll have to make signage and put that in place," Adams said. "When they get the signage up and everything's in place, [officers will] probably give verbal warnings for the first couple of weeks to get everybody used to it."
The ordinance doesn't apply to trucks delivering or receiving goods or to city vehicles or contractors. It will take time for police to recognize which trucks are making local deliveries, Adams said.
The ordinance requires vehicles weighing more than 5 tons to stay on U.S. 27. The 5-ton weight limit includes the base weight of the truck, plus its load. Violators will pay a $141 fine for the first offense. Repeat offenders may be fined up to $300 per offense.
Tim Omarzu covers education for the Times Free Press. Omarzu is a longtime journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor at daily and weekly newspapers in Michigan, Nevada and California.