McDONOUGH — Henry County officials are stepping up enforcement this week in an effort to address illegal truck traffic on different roadways in the county.
According to the Henry County government, an accident earlier this week in which a tractor trailer overturned on King Mill Road off Ga. Highway 42 emphasized a need for stepped up patrols and greater education for commercial drivers in the county.
That area, going toward Locust Grove, has been pointed to as a problem spot for illegal truck traffic, according to the county, and as a result, officials are showing an increased presence in the area.
Johnny Wilson, District 1 commissioner, said he supports heightened enforcement, but also believes that continuing dialogue with officials from the Georgia Department of Transportation is necessary to mitigate the problem.
Wilson said in a release he has talked with transportation professionals and believes one solution would be a dedicated truck route that would take truckers off the local roads and keep them moving on the main arteries.
“My biggest concern is citizen safety,” Wilson said in a release. “People are worried that the big rigs that accidentally get diverted through neighborhoods could end up running off the road and hitting someone. That’s my worst fear.”
Wilson also said that damage to property and area roadways is a concern, saying that some of the roads trucks have illegally used are not built to stand up to tractor trailers.
“Local county roads are meant for cars and light trucks, and the wear and tear by a loaded semi is equal to approximately 300 cars,” Wilson said.
The county indicated on Thursday that more than 20 signs have been installed by the Henry County Department of Transportation in different problem areas, warning motorists that certain roads are illegal for trucks use.
In addition, the Henry County Police Department is issuing tickets.
According to Capt. Jeff Maddox of the Henry County Police Department’s Special Operations Unit, patrols have stepped up over the last year, and even more so in the last few months, as warnings and citations have been issued in an attempt to stop truck drivers from using local streets.
Maddox agreed with Wilson that a dedicated truck route might be a workable solution, but admitted that the challenge facing truck drivers and local authorities is the fact that GPS often takes truck drivers onto local streets.
If drivers are cited, fines could range up to $1,000.
“We understand that for most of these truck drivers, they are trying to make a living and many are not familiar with the area; however, they are paying attention to their GPS and not the road signs,” Maddox said in a release.