Starke County Officials Work to Address Truck Route Issues

Starke County officials are working to address secondary issues caused by the enforcement of the truck route to and from the Knox Industrial Park. The city does not allow tractor-trailers to use Culver Road to travel between U.S. 35 and County Road 300 East.

State Road 8 to 300 East/Klockner Drive is the official access point to and from the park from all directions. Recent intersection improvements can accommodate truck traffic, and the road is rated for heavier loads. However some drivers were using 200 South, which runs by Kem-Co, to get to and from the industrial park. Others were taking Toto Road to 300 East to come up from the south. Neither road can withstand sustained heavy loads.

The Starke County Highway Department recently installed “no truck” signs at the westbound intersection of Toto Road and U.S. 35, the northbound intersection of Toto Road and 300 East, the southbound intersection of Culver Road and 300 East and the westbound intersection of U.S. 35 and 200 South.

Superintendent Rik Ritzler says they’ve given drivers who live on the route permits to go home with their trucks unloaded.

The Norfolk-Southern Railroad Tracks on 300 East are one of the biggest issues for truck drivers, due to trains stopping and blocking the crossing for extended periods of time. State law requires the train to be broken if it is going to sit for more than 10 minutes. Starke County Economic Development Foundation Executive Director Charlie Weaver sought and received permission from the county commissioners to place signs on the north and south approaches to the tracks on 300 East urging motorists to call Norfolk Southern and the Starke County Sheriff’s Office if the track is blocked for more than 10 minutes.

A police officer can ticket the conductor and force him to break the train to allow vehicles to cross the tracks.

The commissioners suggested Weaver reach out to Norfolk Southern officials and let them know of the stepped-up enforcement plans.