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Sun., Oct. 4
Serving the communities of Massena and Potsdam, New York
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Norwood weighs trucking options


NORWOOD — The village board will meet next week to discuss whether to maintain a long-standing weight limit for trucks on village streets.

All roads within the village except Main Street are posted with an 8-ton limit, which means large tractor-trailers cannot use village streets to access Route 56. Instead they must use the truck routes outside the village, using county routes 38 and 49 to connect to the main state highways.

Village officials had unveiled a proposal last winter to make nearly every street in the village a local delivery only route for trucks weighing more than eight tons, a measure one business owner in the village said at the time would force him to shut his doors.

“If I can’t get trucks down to 56, that will shut us down,” G. Michael Knowlton, who owns and operates Knowlton and Sons, a trucking business that has operated on the River Road in Norwood since 2009, told the village board in April.

Mr. Knowlton said his business provides an unloading service for the railroad and makes deliveries of salt, corn and other items to many business around St. Lawrence County, something made difficult by a proposed ordinance that would ban his company from driving its trucks on Ridge and Spring streets in the village.

“It’s not a huge number of trucks that are going down there,” he said.

Mr. Knowlton had estimated that, over the course of a full year, things would average out to just over one truck a day driving through the village streets, which are actually part of county Route 35 connecting to state Route 56.

Local truckers, including Mr. Knowlton, urged the village board to study the issue further, prompting the village to commission a study to look into the feasibility of allowing trucks to use village-maintained streets.

“We wanted to see what it would cost to make those improvements,” Mayor James H. McFaddin said.

The study, completed by Dashnaw’s Town Budget Service, Inc., Waddington, found that it would take nearly $8 million before village streets were suitable for truck traffic.

Most village streets have poor drainage, are too narrow for large tractor-trailers and are not built to withstand regular heavy traffic. Making them suitable for heavy trucks would be very costly for the village and would require regular maintenance costs after the initial renovations.

The village board will discuss its options during its regular meeting at 5 p.m. Monday. Local truckers are expected to attend to voice their views.

If the village does decide to renovate streets to allow truck traffic, it will have to select a consultant and identify the necessary funds.

If the village elects not to move forward with the truck route, several options are still on the table.

Even without the truck route, the study found that several village streets are in rough shape, with improper drainage and cracked surfaces. Some renovations may be in order, Mr. McFaddin said.

If the 8-ton limit is upheld, it likely will be accompanied by an exception for local delivery traffic.

The study also recommended the replacement of the single-lane wooden dry bridge that connects County Route 48 with Route 56. If a stronger and wider bridge were built in its place, it could create a safer truck route in Norwood.

The bridge is owned by CSX Railroad.

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