Goshen News, Goshen, IN

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November 21, 2012

GOSHEN CITY COUNCIL: Trucks to be limited on Kercher Road

GOSHEN — Semi-truck drivers need to find a new route if they previously used C.R. 38, known as Kercher Road, as a shortcut through town.

Goshen City Council members unanimously approved an ordinance prohibiting through traffic on Kercher Road from Ind. 15, known as Main Street, to the western city limits for commercial vehicles towing trailers longer than 40 feet, according to the ordinance.

City attorney Larry Barkes said this ordinance came out of discussions in past City Council meetings.

“We looked over several different ways to regulate this traffic,” Barkes told council members. “We looked at weight, but we wouldn’t have a way to check that, and we also looked at number of axles. We decided limiting traffic by the length of the trailer would be the best way.”

The ordinance comes into full effect as soon as signs are posted giving adequate notice to drivers, according to the ordinance. Fines up to $2,500 could be imposed on violators. Trucks making a stop along that route or in a place where an allowable route can’t be found will still legally be able to use the route, according to Barkes.

“We would need some county cooperation for signage,” Barkes said. “We’ve got to be more practical than (small “No Through Truck” signs already posted), and give them more notice.”

Trucks will be directed to state routes, according to discussion. Some audience and council members expressed concern for directing trucks down Ind. 119, known as Plymouth Avenue, because it would put truck traffic past Goshen Middle School, a pedestrian crossing and Shanklin Park, but all agreed that no route gave a perfect situation.

“I think it’s a stupid thing to do,” resident Glenn Null said, after he talked about the tight turning radiuses and danger of switching the route.

Some residents on Kercher Road spoke at the meeting in support of the ordinance.

Dean Jessup, who lives on West Kercher Road, thanked the city for addressing the traffic issue.

“This is not a ‘not-on-our-road’ problem,” Jessup said. “As (Councilman) Everrett (Thomas) pointed out, until the county and city sits down and talks about the east-west flow, it’s a problem.”

Jessup admitted that moving the traffic elsewhere may not be a good option, but it’s the best option present.

“I would like to see an avenue for the city to have some kind of restriction,” Jessup said. “I would like to encourage support of this, to draw a line in the sand and say that we need to do something, not just nothing and brush it under the rug.”

Other business

• Council members approved additional appropriations for the Goshen Police Department for additional overtime funds. Though $50,000 was approved, Police Chief Wade Branson said he expects to use no more than $6,000 to $8,000 of the funds. The rest of the funds will go back to the General Fund at the end of the calendar year.

• The members also approved the transfer of 2012 cigarette taxes to the General and Cumulative Capital Improvement Funds. These funds are given twice a year to the city from the state, and the city makes the transfer one time a year, according to Clerk-Treasurer Tina Bontrager.

• Council members also approved an emergency resolution for the transfer of funds. The transfers included $300,000 from the Southeast Goshen TIF Fund to pay off a bond in full, saving the city around $50,000 in interest, according to Community Development Director Mark Brinson.

• Council members approved a 2013 meeting schedule. City Council will meet on the first and third Tuesday of every month, with an additional meeting Jan. 22 as a joint meeting with the Goshen Community School Board, and no July 2 meeting because of Independence Day. Meetings in April will be delayed to the second and fourth Tuesdays because of Spring Break, and the Dec. 17 meeting is also cancelled.

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