June 19, 2018
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Ellsworth considers banning heavy trucks in residential area

By Mario Moretto, BDN Staff

ELLSWORTH, Maine — Residents of a few side streets near Ellsworth’s downtown want to see a reduction in the amount of heavy-truck traffic on their narrow, sidewalk-less streets.

Several Ellsworth residents have contacted City Manager Michelle Beal recently to complain about the dump trucks, logging trucks and other large vehicles on the residential ways between Union and Main streets. At a City Council meeting Monday, Beal said most of the trucks are headed to a gravel pit owned by R.F. Jordan and Sons on outer Union Street.

The side streets in question are McKenzie, MacDonald and Maddocks avenues and Carlisle and Spencer streets. The roads are designed for residential traffic; they’re narrow and lack sidewalks, Beal said. Residents are bothered by the truck noise early in the morning and in the evening hours, and are concerned about their safety as the wide loads take up nearly the whole street.

Beal is working out a proposal to limit the weight of vehicles on the roads during weekday business hours and to prohibit large trucks entirely during weekends, early mornings and evenings.

City Councilor John Moore said this could be an opportunity to consider restricting trucks on other Ellsworth roads not designed to handle the heavy loads.

“We may possibly have a number of older roads that don’t have a great roadbed, and we should maybe be looking at limiting the weights on those roads, as well,” he said.

But several questions were raised about where the trucks would end up if they were barred from using the side streets listed above. If they chose to drive down Main Street and turn the near-180 degrees up Union Street, they’d inevitably end up causing traffic snarls and driving on the sidewalk.

Otherwise, they’d have to come into Ellsworth via High Street, potentially adding miles to their daily rounds.

Beal will work with other city department heads and R.F. Jordan to work out a firm proposal for the City Council’s consideration in November.

In other city news, Beal announced that Ellsworth’s new $20.7 million wastewater treatment plant will be up and running within a month, replacing the current plant that regularly fouls the city’s downtown air.

“It’s here, and it feels great,” Beal said. “It feels great that in three weeks’ time, we’ll stop smelling the old plant.”

Follow Mario Moretto on Twitter at @riocarmine.

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