A long-time resident of Boone Avenue recently commented that he had noticed a diminution of heavy truck, i.e. semi-trailer truck, traffic along his section of the street, an occurrence for which he was quite grateful.
The inquiry to him was initiated by the appearance of a mobile, battery-operated, illuminated sign that had been placed near the “Welcome to Winchester” sign on highway 627, just south of Boonesboro Plaza. The new sign directs heavy truck traffic to utilize highway 1958, the Bypass, rather than traversing downtown Winchester.
This is as it should be (and actually has been for a very long time, though not always heavily enforced) because the streets coming into the downtown area are not designed for such heavy truck traffic.
While the surfaces of the streets may very well be capable of supporting the weight of such trucks, many of the turns required from street to street pose significant impediments to these trucks. A case in point is the intersection of Maple with Boone. Trucks attempting to turn south onto Boone from Maple encounter a very sharp turn which is made even more difficult by the close proximity of cars waiting to turn from Boone north onto Maple. Often waiting cars will have to back up in order to provide the necessary turning radius for the big trucks and this becomes a near impossibility if there are cars behind the one at the front.
Many times in the past there seemed to be increased enforcement in the area, stopping trucks that have been observed coming all the way through town instead of utilizing the Bypass. These efforts came from both Kentucky State Police and local law enforcement. The large trucks are permitted into the downtown area if they are making deliveries there, but trucks simply passing through from north to south or vice versa must be routed along highway 1958.
Even when these vehicles use the intended route, the bypass, they continue to create problems that are apparent to everyone else who travels along that highway.
When these large vehicles stop and start at traffic lights, they create “ripples” in the pavement. This happens on the macadam — what most people refer to as blacktop — a non-homogeneous material that gives way under the weight and force of start-stop movement and is amplified by the large trucks.
The material which can adequately resist these forces is properly reinforced-and-placed concrete and it’s a mystery why the Kentucky Department of Transportation has not required this type of pavement at intersections where heavy truck stop-and-go traffic is anticipated.
The intersections of the bypass with Fulton, Redwing, Pedro, and Colby all demonstrate quite graphically the damage that heavy trucks do to the pavement. Driving through those intersections is almost like driving along a railroad track because of the ripples on the surface.
Unfortunately, concrete intersections, when not properly installed, begin to deteriorate too quickly and create hazards themselves through cracking and potholes, such as at the Bypass Road/627 intersection.
However, fewer heavy trucks circumnavigating along Boone Avenue and through the downtown will be beneficial to everyone here, make our streets less dangerous, and will allow those streets to remain serviceable for longer periods of time.
We hope that the increased enforcement will continue and that word will eventually circulate among the trucking industry that heavy trucks will be expected to utilize the appropriate routes here.