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

  • Rick S.

    The DOH lawyer is correct. The city of Morgantown has no legal authority to ban trucks from a state road.

    The town in which I lived tried a similar thing and it was ruled to be illegal. Although in my town, it wasn't even a state road -- it was a village road. But still, it was ruled that our village was not permitted to ban trucks from the main village road.

  • Mr.P

    If the state owns roads in Morgantown then why haven't they paved Beechchurst Ave they own it?

  • Mr.P

    The federal govt needs to do an audit on the state of West Virginia to find out where all the moneys going to,the roads should be paved in gold.

  • WhgFeelin

    Turn the roadway over to the city and have them maintain it. Easy fix.

  • steve

    What the state an everyone needs to worry about. Is the high taxes we pay for gas to up keep our roads an every state around us has less tax then us! As soon as u get out of wv all the roads are better than ours. So we haven't had winters like years ago or very bad winters lately. Yet they say all the funding has gone to winters. We shouldn't be broke from the high taxes. These roads should be paved not a 2 mile long patch an that's how they get away with it. The state only allows so many patches for so many distance. So they do 1 long patch an will only count as a single patch. There's no reason these roads can't be paved an that's the main problem!!!

  • Motown TS

    To our friends at DOH - You don't "OWN" anything. These roads are OWNED by the Citizens of West Virginia.

    • WhgFeelin

      Generally the land UNDER the road way is owned by a private entity. The roadway itself is owned and maintained by the DOH.

    • One who knows

      Really ??????? Interesting when you look at property ownerships Roads say West Virginia Division Of Highways as owners

      • Motown TS

        A shallow analysis, my friend. DOH is an agency of the State. Our Constitution is clear: Article II, Section 2:
        The powers of government reside in all the citizens of the state, and can be rightfully exercised only in accordance with their will and appointment.

  • bob

    kudos to Morgantown, don't give up,create a truck route and enforce it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • joep

    these trucks are just about all delivering gravel/limestone to the mon river docks. I drove from 8th street to walnut a couple weeks ago in the a.m. and counted 9 of these large dump trucks. They have to use two lanes to turn off spruce back toward sabraton. Those of you who don't believe need to go have a cup of coffee at the blue moose one a.m.

  • Trucker

    No thanks Id not want to eat their cooking LOL

  • Shawn 108

    IMO the city should worry about collecting the tax and permit revenue from WVU. Instead of worry about something they have no control over.

  • Big b

    Wn ll I don't like the college students to be driving in Morgantown with their loud music so can we vote to keep the college students from driving in town how about the garbage MorgantoWn about school buses how about school are we going to punish them for being overweight so to the Mon County residence is this worth losing your tax paying moneyI'm sure there's a better way of spending money than wasting time on this how about the safety in Morgantown it would be nice to see better safety in.

    • ralph

      Big b, Why do you not spelling and punciation?

  • 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.