Truckers ticketed trying to route around bridge work in Lehigh County, PA

By Clarissa Kell-Holland, Land Line staff writer | Thursday, April 26, 2012

Truck drivers and police in one Pennsylvania township are warning drivers to follow detour signs, instead of relying on their GPS units, as work continues to replace or repair two bridges in Lehigh County.

Cpl. Cory Reader of the Berks-Lehigh Regional Police Department told Land Line on Thursday, April 26, that many of the drivers he has ticketed in the past few weeks are relying on their GPS systems, which provided them with the “shortest route,” landing them on restricted roads. He said they should instead follow the detour signs provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

He said the majority of the truckers he has ticketed are trying to make their way to the Trexler Truck Stop in the area, but end up on restricted routes.

“This is a heavily industrialized township in the area, but we are seeing an influx of trucks trying to get to the truck stop, which is the only diesel fuel facility in our township and I believe it’s one of the last or the last public scaling areas for trucks traveling east toward New Jersey,” Reader said.

“I know there is some motivation by drivers to get to that truck stop to make sure things are squared away before they cross the state line into New Jersey, which has a very large scale house and heavy Department of Transportation presence there.”

OOIDA member Martin Barley of Fountain City, IN, said he ended up with a $111 ticket for failing to obey a posted sign after he realized too late that he had no options. After coming to a T-intersection, he said the right side had a ‘no trucks’ sign posted. The left side had a ‘local deliveries only” sign. He went left, but was soon stopped by police and cited for his trailer length being longer than 30 feet.

“Not long after you swing around to make a left-hand turn, there’s an officer there waiting for you,” Barley said.

Reader said his department isn’t out there “fishing,” but merely enforcing the township road restrictions that do not allow trucks on certain roads.

“It’s a little confusing, but I assure you all signs are posted to guide drivers on these routes,” he said.

He said drivers are being given a reduced fine ticket for $111, which includes the $25 fine, plus additional fees.

“Normally, a 30-foot trailer length restriction is around $500, plus costs, and width violations can cost truckers around $386, plus costs,” Reader said. “When we tell them we are giving them a break, we really are.”

As for Barley, he said he wants to warn other drivers so they don’t find themselves in the same situation when heading through that area.

“When I was stopped, there were two drivers right behind me that were stopped,” he said. “I just want to make sure other drivers avoid this area.”

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