California town wants truck traffic off state highway

| 6/20/2002

A once-small community in Ventura County wants to prohibit truck traffic on a state highway that runs through their community. Now, after years of talk, Moorpark, CA, has authorized a $20,000 study to see if all truck traffic except local deliveries could be diverted off California 118.

The stretch of highway under scrutiny is part of the National Highway System, a group of highways classified by the federal government as needed for interstate travel and national defense.

According to the mayor's office, Moorpark has hired a consulting firm to determine the city's chances of success before it begins a full-scale lobbying effort. It's not the first time the community has tried to ban semis from the stretch of highway that now wanders through the growing community. The Simi Valley Freeway is heavily used by truckers, offering quick access to I-405, I-5 and I-101 along the coast.

In 1989, 1994 and 1999, the city appealed to the California Department of Transportation for help. Each time, the agency told the city to submit a formal application to ban truck traffic, a time-consuming and complex process. Three years ago, the city started looking for a consulting firm to do the study, but was unable to find one until recently.

"I know a couple of bypasses have been proposed," a temporary spokesman for the Ventura County CHP told Land Line. "Our office only handles highway on each side of Moorpark, the sheriff's office handles traffic on the part of the state highway in question."