The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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December 27, 2013

Portage Twp. aims to slow truckers

Supervisors adopt ordinance

PORTAGE — Township supervisors on Friday adopted an ordinance that should keep reportedly unruly coal truck traffic in check around the Shoemaker Circle neighborhood.

Shoemaker Circle residents voiced concerns to the supervisors in August that coal trucks were generating a significant amount of traffic heading to and from the nearby Amfire plant. Trucks reportedly were speeding through a “Y” intersection that branches into Lumber Road, which leads to the plant, and Shoemaker Circle, which leads to a small neighborhood of about 20 homes.

Residents also reported the trucks were not stopping at the intersection.

“It’s a one-lane road and (the trucks) run you off the road,” resident Karen Maul told the supervisors in August. “We can’t let our kids outside to play. The road’s right there, and we’re afraid the kids are going to get run over.”

Coal transport traffic through the neighborhood stepped up in the summer after the trucks’ usual path, which leads over train tracks that were under repair, became unviable.

A new stop sign will be placed in the northbound lane of Lumber Road. Supervisor Rick Olshavsky said that with the new ordinance, truck drivers can be cited for not stopping at the intersection.

“But since the tracks have been repaired and they’re not hauling 24 hours a day, more or less (there’s less traffic),” he said.

He added that if the supervisors receive more complaints from residents, state police will be notified and a trooper will likely set up a ticket trap.

“There’s a lot of good truck drivers – it’s just a couple (causing the problem),” Olshavsky  said. “One guy will get a ticket and that’ll be it for a while.”

The ordinance also allows for a “no outlet” sign to be placed at the entrance to Lumber Road.

Justin Dennis covers Portage Township for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at­tinDennis.

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