June 14–It’s taken a while (and lots of effort), but after almost four years, there are signs on I-95 identifying Georgetown’s commercial truck route.
Police Chief Donald Cudmore requested the signage from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation in an effort to eliminate commercial truck traffic on Searle and Tenney streets. Cudmore then worked closely with state Sen. Bruce Tarr and MassDOT Traffic Division District Manager Paul Stedman to make it a reality.
“I want to personally thank Sen. Tarr and Mr. Stedman for getting this done for us,” Cudmore said. “As I learned along the way, there was much more to the process of placing signage on the highway than I thought, and without their assistance, the town of Georgetown would not have been able to get this accomplished.”
Getting it done was not easy.
“We had a longstanding problem with commercial truck traffic entering into Tenney and Searle streets,” Cudmore said. “We received dozens of complaints a week concerning the fact that tractor-trailers were going into these very small isolated residential areas. And in doing so, they would take down wires and fire hydrants, because those streets are not designed for that type of traffic.”
A commercial/industrial truck access road had been built by the state in 2005, so Cudmore set out to try to implement a traffic change to utilize it.
In 2007, the Georgetown Board of Selectmen voted to restrict commercial truck access from Tenney and Searle streets.
“After Peter Durkee [Georgetown highway surveyor] took office in 2007, we noticed that there were several parts of the project, with regard to traffic study, that were missing,” Cudmore explained.
In 2015, Cudmore met with Tarr’s office and the Department of Transportation and reviewed the paperwork and determined that appropriate traffic studies had not been conducted in the Searle and Tenney area to create a commercial truck exclusion with the state.
“We adopted it locally, but it had not been formally adopted with the approval of the DOT,” Cudmore continued. So officials requested traffic studies from Merrimack Valley Planning and other necessary data needed to get signage on I-95. “The problem was you cannot place signs on an interstate and exclude traffic from particular areas without the appropriate permitting process.”
So the Board of Selectmen voted to adopt the commercial truck exclusion and the town applied for the permit with the state. That process took a while because there were questions about definitions of heavy commercial vehicles, among others.
In 2016, the permit was finally granted. Representatives from Tarr’s office and MassDOT met with Cudmore in Georgetown and devised a plan to put signage at the Georgetown offramp and onramp from I-95.
But wait — there’s more.
There was also the GPS factor. Many commercial truck drivers rely on GPS navigation to reach their destinations. But GPS companies were directing them to Searle and Tenney streets to get to the various manufacturing businesses in that part of Georgetown, adding to the town’s traffic woes.
MassDOT contacted the various GPS companies to let them know about the traffic change.
The signs have worked, Cudmore said.
“Since the signs have been erected and the appropriate parties were contacted at these GPS companies, we’ve seen a dramatic decrease in complaints because people are not being driven to those locations by navigation.”
(c)2017 Wicked Local North, Danvers, Mass.
Visit Wicked Local North, Danvers, Mass. at northofboston.wickedlocal.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.