Trucks banned from Angeles Crest Highway

| 8/12/2009

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed into law a bill banning large trucks along a Los Angeles County highway with grades as steep as 7 percent in some locations. The action appears to be welcome news for some local truckers, who have told Land Line that the road is not fit for trucks.

The effort is spurred by the death of a 12-year-old girl and her father when a truck traveling down a steep grade on state Route 2 (Angeles Crest Highway) struck vehicles and a strip mall April 1 at Foothill Boulevard, where the highway dead-ends. Several others suffered injuries.

According to the Pasadena Star-News, brake problems were blamed for the double-deck car hauler striking the vehicles. The truck’s driver also allegedly ignored warning signs and used a route that is off-limits to heavy trucks.

Shortly after the incident, Caltrans temporarily banned all trucks along the winding, two-lane mountain route to buy the Legislature time to approve a permanent ban.

With the governor’s signature, commercial vehicles with three or more axles or a gross vehicle weight of at least 9,000 pounds are prohibited from SR 2 between Big Pines Highway and Interstate 210 in La Canada Flintridge, northwest of Pasadena.

Violators would face fines of at least $1,000.

Exceptions to the ban are made for trucks delivering to or from locations within La Canada Flintridge, or locations accessible only from SR 2. Vehicles involved in the production of television, movies and commercials also will be allowed to use the route.

Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, D-La Canada Flintridge, said action to ban trucks on the route was long overdue.

“There was never a reason for big rigs to use this narrow, steep road that ended in our quiet town,” Portantino said. “Our community paid too high a price to see this bill become law.”

Truck drivers who call the area home are glad to see a rule in place. They say there are grave safety concerns about trucks, as well as other vehicles, trying to negotiate the treacherous canyon road.

Owner-operator and OOIDA member Tom Fidger of Littlerock, CA, said the highway is a useful shortcut between the Antelope Valley and Los Angeles. He would like to see improvements made to bring it up to modern standards and make it safer for truckers and others to navigate. But he acknowledged that the state’s current financial situation makes that unlikely.

“They need to do something with it, but the state is broke. The legislature has spent us into a hole,” Fidger told Land Line.

Since the ban took effect 10 signs have been posted in the area alerting truckers of the new rule.

To view other legislative activities of interest for California in 2009, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor

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