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Turners Falls says no more commerical truck traffic on First Street

TURNERS FALLS — There should be no further rumblings of heavy truck traffic between Unity Park and the bike path.

The Montague Board of Selectmen has approved the police chief’s request to ban commercial truck traffic up and down First Street, a steep downhill stretch cutting the corner between the heavily trafficked Avenue A and hillside stretch of Third Street.

Montague Police Chief Charles “Chip” Dodge III said a resident had brought him the request, in light of heavier use in recent years.

“With the new park and the bike path, that area is very popular right now,” Dodge said.

Whether or not truck drivers follow the speed limit there, their vehicles are harder to stop than the cars that often speed down the hill, Dodge said.

“You’ve got a truck, an oil truck that’s loaded, that’s coming down that hill, it’s got some weight so it’s coming down that hill pretty fast, at least 30, I would think, and right at the bottom people are crossing,” Dodge said.

Highway Superintendent Thomas Bergeron suggested a 10-ton limit for commercial vehicles, although he said cars are the worst speeders.

Dodge said the ban shouldn’t be onerous for truckers, suggesting they are likely sent up or down the hill by their GPS systems.

“I’m not asking them to go out of their way. I’m actually asking them to go a better way,” he said.

Signs at both ends of First Street will bar commercial vehicles over 10 tons, likely subject to a $20 fine and a moving violation attached to a commercial driving license, Dodge said.

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