City Officials Clash Over Truck Route Fines

Knox Truck OrdinanceThe Knox City Council voted 3-2 to raise the fine for truck route violations from $50 to $150 after a spirited discussion. Mayor Dennis Estok contends the fine needs to be raised in order to deter local drivers from playing the odds and using Culver Road to get from U.S. 35 to the Knox Industrial Park instead of taking State Road 8. Councilman Tim Manns renewed his call for additional signs to alert truck drivers of the route.

He says the signs currently in place at the northwest corner of Culver Road at U.S. 35 do not provide enough of a warning, as a driver is already committed to making the turn by the time he sees the sign.

Starke County Economic Development Foundation Executive Director Charlie Weaver also weighed in on the truck route enforcement. He applauded the city for enforcing a policy that’s been on the books for years, but says the means of doing so sends a terrible message to the business community.

“We have given notice to truckers by putting signs up on Culver Road on the west side of U.S. 35/Heaton Street that says to them they cannot turn from the north to the south on that road. There is no signage which says ‘the truck route is this way.’ Communities have truck routes posted that you put them there. This is not being in opposition to the city. I think we’re working together on this,” Weaver said.

The Starke County Economic Development Foundation is working with GPS companies to add the truck routes to the programs used by over-the-road drivers. That process could take a few months to finalize. Weaver says SCEDF will also purchase additional truck route signs for placement along U.S. 35 to direct drivers to State Road 8 to access the Knox Industrial Park.

Council members Bertha Blue, Don Kring and Ron Parker voted in support of the fine increase. Manns and Councilman Jeff Berg were opposed.