MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The West Virginia Division of Highways has never wavered from its position that it owns all state routes and the city of Morgantown does not have jurisdiction to regulate traffic.

That’s why DOH counsel Jonathan Storage was surprised Wednesday morning when he learned Morgantown City Council approved an ordinance restricting heavy truck traffic on state Route 7 through downtown.

“It’s the Division of Highways position that the DOH owns the road. We care for it. We pay for it and we’re bound to have a uniform system of regulations to make certain that every one has equal access to it,” Storage said on WAJR-AM’s Morgantown AM.

The ordinance approved by Morgantown prohibits some commercial motor vehicles—those with a Class 7 registration or higher that weigh 13 tons or more—from traveling through downtown. Exceptions written into the ordinance include downtown deliveries and emergency vehicles.

City Manager Jeff Mikorski told the council that enforcing the new policy would require signs to be placed along Route 7 indicating the restrictions to truckers. However, Mikorski said the city must obrain approval for the signs from the DOH.

“We told the city that the city does not have the authority to restrict the roadway as they have, yet afterwards they are conceding the fact they have to seek the Division of Highways permission to put up the very signs to restrict the trucks. That seems very puzzling to me,” said Storage. “We’re not going to approve signage if we believe the foundational ordinance is inappropriate given the road they are trying to regulate.”

To enforce the ban, Mikorski said trucks would have to be weighed to see if they were over the legal weight limit. According to Storage, that means the Morgantown ordinance may be encroaching on the state Public Service Commission, which is ultimately charged with issuing citations for overweight trucks.

Storage said if the law were to be upheld it has the potential to set a precedent for chaos.

“It would create a patchwork of opportunities for municipalities all over the state to challenge the Division of Highways and our current way of operating.”

The ordinance is scheduled to go into effect in 90 days.

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Comments

  • knows

    this ban wouldn't hurt Greer one bit. majority of truckers hauling stone get paid % of load. so they would be the main ones hurt by this. but if it were to pass increased cost would certainly be passed around. higher construction costs higher concrete etc.....and all the while the drivers would have less $$ for their families and less to spend in the community.. city council like all govt operations want to sweep problems under the rug then come up with a stupid solution such as this and say... see all the hard work we've done here.......we just need the same thing we have needed for years......more roads...ie mileground roundabout did help

    • ralph

      I agree, but why are they forced to use the "power plant" loadout instead of the Greenbag terminal.

  • Wowbagger

    After the weigh station is in place and Morgantown is granted home rule it will be simple to levy a road use fee based on vehicle weight. Say $5 per ton over 13 tons. One truck has been demonstrated to cause more highway damage than 10,000 trucks. Over weight trucks cause even more damage.

    • One who knows

      Morgantown cant even answer where their going to put weigh stations in at... Their is no room They will need two

    • Wowbagger

      Oops,

      One truck has been demonstrated to cause more highway damage than 10,000 cars.

  • Mr.P

    The trucks should be made to access the interstate at Sabraton travel north on I-79 and exit at Star City proceed towards Mon Boulevard till they reach their destination at Seneca,PROBLEM SOLVED!!

  • The Chief

    Anyone notice that the truck in the picture is in two lanes? It will stay in two lanes until it makes the turn in which case it will be in an oncoming lane. I travel that road every day and it is the same for every truck. They are too big to be in that space, they ruin the roads, and they need to be moved out of town. The county built them Green Bag road to deliver their payload and the city residents have been asking the trucks to use it for years. Greer and company have told the citizens to take a hike. Since there is no give from the trucks, Morgantown has been forced to try something different. This could have been resolved with a gentlemans agreement years ago, but the wishes of the residents were simply ignored. I for one hope it works out.

    • Marion

      Hey chief ! Then move ! Trucks will not be banned ! PERIOD !

    • JSS

      You people need to realize if it weren't for trucks , you wouldn't have food to eat or clothes to wear. Those trucks pay a lot of money to use those highways wich were built by state and federal funds not you city folks.

      • Xteacher

        My food and clothing aren't delivered by dump trucks. My beer isn't either. Luckily for me, the trucks which bring my food, clothing, and beer will continue to be brought through downtown.

        Dump and barge truck drivers have been cutting straight through downtown to shave a few minutes off of each load that they haul so that they can squeeze in an extra load or two each shift. Now, they're going to have to either work longer or get paid less. That's the same choice the rest of us have had to make in our careers.

        DOH's attorney will have to answer for making false statements regarding the law. Morgantown is permitted by statute to enact this ordinance. No scales are needed.

    • Robin

      Interesting that it is a problem now. I went to school there in late 70's early 80's and lived there five more years. Trucks used the road then and it was not an issue.

      DOT guy is right, state owns that road and only the state can regulate it. City needs a new attorney.

      • electro

        There are 3 times as many cars and twice the trucks now.

  • Stupid Liberals

    I told you stupid liberals, but you knew better.

  • cutty77

    This is what you have when you have a Hayseed City Council. Go back to school and learn the laws of The State of WV.

  • Brian

    Good comments! Bottom line Morgantown will lose another legal challenge and city council members will have a "we tried" feather in their cap come election time. I think jack braking, cell phone use while driving, young drivers - particularly idiotic nonresident students, old drivers and poorly maintained roads are all bigger problems.

  • ViennaGuy

    Gotta agree with the DOH on this. I don't see where the city has the authority to regulate what vehicles can and cannot use a state road.

    If they aren't doing it already, perhaps what Morgantown needs to do is work with the DOH to have designated truck routes through town. Parkersburg did this years ago, and it seemed to work well.

  • The bookman

    I lived in Morgantown 12 years ago, and still do business there 4 days a month. What am I missing in regards to truck traffic in Morgantown? There were no issues when I lived there, and I don't see a problem currently. What is this about?

    • electro

      High St and Walnut are like wash boards because of the weight of the trucks. You will also notice the trucks when you have 3-4 of them in a row in front of you at a light and sit there for 10 min while they wait for room to fit in the lane on the other side.

    • Wowbagger

      I have been run off the road more than once by one of the contract limestone truckers on the route 7 haul road employed by the owners of this web site one of whom has run for Senate twice. Initials J R.

      Note: If I use he who should not be named's actual name my comments will be moderated into oblivion.

      • The bookman

        Wowbagger,

        I value your opinion. What solution do you have? The City has no ability to regulate state or federal highways. I recall the hard left on Rte 7 and the wide turning trucks. Is that the only problem? Has the volume increased over the last 5 years? From here it seems much ado about nothing, but if you are steamed, methinks I may need to seek more info.

        Enlighten me.

        • jss

          Wowbagger, the volume of traffic has increased exponentially since JR built the new road/river transfer plant at Seneca.

    • Hillboy

      If you don't travel Brockway Ave./Walnut St. often you likely wouldn't notice. I don't often go that way during the day myself so I thought the same thing---how bad could it be?

      However, this summer I had to take that route every morning and late afternoon to drop my son off at Marilla Park. I was surprised at the number of limestone trucks. It seemed to be way more than I remember in the past.

      I think it would be an improvement if the trucks could be re-routed onto Greenbag Road. (When I first moved to Morgantown I believe Hartman Run Road and Greenbag Rd were posted as truck by-pass routes.) I don't, however, think the city council's approach is the best way to go about it. Nor do I think it will ultimately be successful.

      • The bookman

        I lived on Overdale my sophomore year and walked Brockway everyday. I also worked at The South Park Domino's for years. I just don't recall the problem with the trucks. Sounds like unreasonable attitudes have prevailed.....on both sides!

        • Hillboy

          I used to live on Pa. Ave. in lower Greenmont and would walk into town along Brockway. I rarely noticed the limestone trucks. But I sure noticed them this summer. It wasn't uncommon to be behind two or three of them at a time. Greer is clearly selling more limestone these days.

          • One who knows

            The closed locks are . Opekiska Hidebrand and Morgantown

          • Hillboy

            Trucker, if you are talking about the difference between using the dock near the Beechurst power plant vs. the dock near the drinking water plant, it doesn't really make that much difference. The trucks still have to come in through Brockway and Walnut St. The only difference is whether they turn left or right at the bottom of Walnut. Other than along Beechurst Ave. it really has no effect on the volume of limestone truck traffic in town.

          • Hillboy

            What is the location of the closed dock?

          • Trucker

            Ever think its because the Locks are closed HMMMMMM they cant use both docks now???????? Nope no one ever thinks of that detail do they

  • jm

    Heck............a ban on jakes within city limits would be just as good. Drives me nuts to listen to one of the dang things in a 25mph speed limit..............

  • Uppity

    It seems Morgantown is too smart to be told what to do by their own state laws. Perhaps they want to create their own state?

  • Wirerowe

    Morgantown wants the benefits of truck traffic that almost exclusively carries goods into town, and they want the state to pay for and maintain the roads and then they want to eliminate truck traffic in town on state roads. Political charade because they do not have the courage to impose user fees to pay for new roads to unlock the grid. This ban will not stand any legal challenge.

  • Jeff

    Trucks downtown have been a hazard for way too long. If the DOH would do more than sit on its thumb, Morgantown would not have to go this route. Don't let up, Morgantown!

    • Robin

      And they pay more in state and federal highway tax not to mention fuel taxes than you will in your lifetime.

      • Wowbagger

        And one truck causes 10,000 times the highway damage as one car so why shouldn't they pay 10,000 times the taxes!

    • Marion

      Jeff you sound like every other city boy liberal ! Morgantown city council is not and will not win this fight against the DOH. Save the taxpayers some money. If it goes to court how much money will be wasted ?! Just for the heck of it, LOOK around you right now . Every thing that you look at has been on a truck more than once. As the old addage says TRUCKING STOPS. AMERICA STOPS ! I'm not a trucker but give them a break ! Morgantown will lose this battle ! Bottom line .

      • MP

        I'm a conservative and want the trucks out of downtown. They serve no customers on the roads they drive through town. It is simply a convenience that causes traffic, road, and safety issues.

        • bob

          +1

      • Jeff

        Hm city boy liberal. I like the sound of that. I'm not worried about America stopping if Greer has to drive a few extra miles to dump gravel.

        • Marion

          City boy liberal and West Virginia do not go hand in hand. Please leave our great state and I will shut the door behind you !

    • Nobama

      Jeff. If you educate yourself about the situation, which may be asking a lot, you would see there is very little data showing that trucks are any more of a hazard than regular vehicles. This is City counsel along with dictator Selin trying to make a power play. Selin could barley answer simple questions on the talk show this morning. She's a Gem.

      • Jeff

        I'm sure you're a wealth of knowledge, "Nobama." I don't need your data to know the trucks are deafening, polluting, damaging, and adverse to a growing city.

        Maybe you can educate yourself on a "designated truck route"

      • Jeff

        I'm sure you're a wealth of knowledge, "Nobama." I don't need your data to know the trucks are obnoxious, polluting, damaging, and adverse to a growing city.

        Maybe you can educate yourself on a "designated truck route"

        • JSS

          Maybe you'd like drive on to Pittdburgh or Charleston to do your shopping, think about you D/A

        • Nobama

          You only need to hit submit once brainiac.

          • jss

            Hijacked initials.

  • Roger

    Well if its not legal to restrict heavy truck traffic in downtown Morgantown, then the next step is for the City Council/Mayor to instruct the Morgantown police department to start issuing traffic tickets to every trucker that violates the law, if this truck traffic is causing serious safety concerns...Pay enough fines and truckers will bypass downtown, unless its absolutely necessary to go there. If they are not violating any traffic laws then truckers are welcome to drive the streets....

    • Adam

      Ditto. I challenge any truck, specifically those of Race-E, to travel through downtown entirely within its own lane, through all turns, not block intersections, and not make egregious amounts of noise (to the point that folks cannot have a conversation within a half a block).

      • Guardian

        Too caught up in your rant to check facts? JR does NOT own any of the trucks.

      • Trucker

        Raese dont own any trucks you ill informed jackass

        • MP

          They serve his business. You are the one lacking in intelligence. Bring it on home boy.

        • Wowbagger

          The truckers are contractors for he who should not be named and are dependent on his business and good will. Most of these contractors also do not live within the city limits of Morgantown or pay city taxes, so a city street use tax
          is in order.

          • Trucker

            not on a city street jackass we are on a federal /state highway

  • Guardian

    Seems the solution is just a little too obvious, but why doesn't the state and the city get over their contest of power and designate the Green Bag Road as the new State Route 7. Allow the current State Route 7 to become a city of Morgantown street with the associated responsibility of maintenance. Then the city can ban trucks all day, every day on a city street and erect all the signage they want.

    • John of Wayne

      Your solution makes sense, which is why politicians will not be able to see it.

    • Elliott

      Because that would be too easy and logical.

      The DOH is already going to upgrade the intersection with Earl Core Rd. and upgrade the intersection with Kingwood Pike. That would be all too easy to redesignate that road as Rt. 7, and it would add about 3 miles to the trucks' routes.