Whether or not trucks should be allowed to use county roads to bypass a closed portion of U.S. 421 near Medaryville was debated by the Pulaski County Commissioners Monday. The concern was brought forward by trucking company owner Brad Craig.
He said he hauls stone from a quarry in Francesville up to a concrete company on U.S. 421. Craig added that detouring around the closed bridge adds 40 miles to each round trip. That equates to an extra $43.55 a load, in added labor and fuel costs.
Craig told the commissioners that the LaPorte and Porter county highway departments offer permits to allow trucks to use county roads, in certain circumstances. After some discussion, the commissioners decided to implement a similar system in Pulaski County, but with a few stipulations.
For one thing, anyone who wants a permit will have to go before the county commissioners, as Craig did. Commissioner Mike McClure added that he’d only consider permits for Pulaski County residents. “But I’m not in favor of considering somebody from Wanatah or Chicago,” he said. “You can’t tell a local resident that he can’t use the road he’s been paying taxes on all of his life, but you can tell somebody from Porter County, ‘Hey, you can’t use this road because it’s under construction.’”
The commissioners also directed Craig to stop using the county roads, if they start to deteriorate.
Highway Superintendent Terry Ruff had several concerns with the system. He worried that if some trucks are allowed to use county roads, other drivers would follow. The commissioners acknowledged that it will be difficult to police which drivers have permits, and which do not.