A new law in Minnesota makes a lift bridge northeast of Minneapolis off-limits to truck drivers.
Previously SF1091, the new rule restricts the length of commercial vehicle combinations using state Highway 36 in downtown Stillwater, MN, to 55 feet. It is common for truckers to use the route to access the Stillwater Lift Bridge, which crosses the St. Croix River.
Signs notifying truckers of the length restriction are required to be posted by July 1. The restriction will not apply to specially permitted vehicles.
Advocates say the ban was necessary to crack down on truckers using the Stillwater bridge to avoid inspections at the St. Croix Weigh Station/Hudson Port of Entry on Interstate 94.
Others say it will alleviate congestion downtown and reduce wear and tear on the aging structure.
“I regret having to impose restrictions on commercial trucks accessing the bridge, but until we can get a new river crossing there is simply no other choice. Public safety must be our number one concern, and we are hopeful these new limits will reduce the risk of personal injury and property damage in downtown Stillwater,” Sen. Ray Vandeveer, R-Forest Lake, said in a written statement.
Critics say it is bad public policy to prohibit vehicles from roads that are paid for with taxes. Trucking officials in the state say there’s no quick and easy alternate route.
Linda Marotz, part owner of DL & S Carriers in Stillwater, doesn’t buy that argument.
“They can go around,” Marotz told Land Line. “How hard is it for somebody to drive five miles down the road to go across the I-94 bridge at Hudson?”
Marotz, wife of OOIDA member Donald Marotz, said the ban is long overdue.
“As far as I’m concerned, they should have banned trucks on that bridge 10 years ago. It just makes sense,” she said.
To view other legislative activities of interest for Minnesota in 2009, click here.
– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor
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