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Norwood truckers: We’ll ignore posted signs

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NORWOOD — The village has decided not to lift the posted 8-ton limit on local roads, but truckers say they will continue making their deliveries just as they always have.

The village Board of Trustees reviewed a study by Dashnaw’s Town Budget Service Inc., which stated the roads are unsuitable for truck traffic. Rebuilding them to state specifications would take nearly $8 million.

Norwood has a budget of about $1 million annually, so reconstruction is not an option, Mayor James H. McFaddin said.

“I wish we could do more, but I also know the situation of the taxpayers in our village, and I know we can’t afford $7.9 million.”

However, at Monday’s meeting, local business owners said full-fledged reconstruction may not be necessary. The village has had signs declaring an 8-ton limit for decades, but they have never been enforced.

Trucks have been using village streets for years, and it is only recently that the issue has received any attention, according to Amanda S. Foster, who owns Foster’s Truck and Equipment Repair, Norwood.

“They’ve been doing it for years, so I don’t see what the point is of changing it now,” she said.

G. Michael Knowlton, owner of Knowlton and Sons, is one of the business owners who stands to lose the most because of the 8-ton limit. His business is on River Road on Norwood. If he can’t use local roads to make his deliveries, he will have to take a detour of over 20 miles to reach the truck routes that run on either side of the village.

“It’s already a truck route,” Mr. Knowlton said of village roads. “Trucks go down that road every day.”

He said the village is obligated to provide and maintain roads usable by both cars and trucks.

The preliminary study showed that many of the village’s roads are built atop a poor base. Most have visible cracks and drainage problems.

The board decided to address the most severe drainage problems next year and will plan accordingly in the next budget. However, they deemed the steps necessary to create a truck route that meets state standards unfeasible.

Throughout the meeting, members of the public questioned whether an expensive, full-fledged reconstruction was necessary. Some suggested short-term fixes, like improved drainage and repaving.

“Local people should be able to work together,” William R. Gray, a former trucker and Norwood resident, said.

The village agreed to purchase “Local Delivery Only” signs, as recommended by state police. These allow trucks that exceed the 8-ton limit to enter Norwood if they are making a delivery to someone within village limits.

Mr. Knowlton said believes the local delivery law applies to his business, which is located within village limits. He plans to continue using his trucks on local roads. If he is ticketed, he said he thinks he can make his case in court.

Mr. McFaddin said he does not know how the law would apply to a business like Knowlton and Sons.

“The police agencies and the judges can answer that question,” he said, adding that there are no plans for village police to increase ticketing as a result of Monday’s decision.

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