After getting negative feedback from the N.C. Department of Transportation on a plan to classify Knightdale Boulevard as a local route only for trucks, the town has dropped the idea.
Town Council member Dustin Tripp, who is chairman of the council’s planning and engineering committee, told the council at its meeting Tuesday, July 5, that if the town was able to get the highway classified as a local route, it could put the town on the hook for some maintenance costs.
“So it’s not in our best interest at this time to pursue that,” Tripp said.
In a phone interview, however, Tripp said DOT had signaled that the move was not appropriate anyway and it wouldn’t approve the change even if Knightdale asked for it. “It didn’t meet their requirements for a local truck route only,” he said.
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“DOT says the road was built to serve as a primary highway for tractor-trailers,” Tripp said. “I think DOT is saying even if you could do it, you wouldn’t want to because you’d lose federal highway dollars.”
He wasn’t sure if that meant funds going to the DOT or to the town. Tripp also said he was uncertain exactly how much money would be at risk and didn’t know if the town currently gets any federal highway funds.
Development Planning Services Director Chris Hills had been preparing to make a presentation on the idea at the planning and engineering committee meeting scheduled for Monday, July 11. That meeting has since been canceled.
The town had been in contact with the DOT concerning a change to the road’s designation after former Mayor Billy Wilder brought up the matter during the public comment portion of an April Town Council meeting.
Wilder told the council that he noticed an increase in the number of trucks on Knightdale Boulevard, or U.S. 64 Business, more than a year ago. He said he’s counted as many as 18 driving down Knightdale Boulevard in a 30-minute span during the afternoon rush hour and 29 in an hour.
By making the roadway a route only for trucks with business on Knightdale Boulevard, the number of large trucks on the roadway, especially at peak hours, would be reduced.
Wilder said he knows from talking with truck dispatchers that GPS often routes trucks down Knightdale Boulevard rather than the U.S. 264 bypass because it covers fewer miles, even though, timewise, it’s the longer route. And drivers get bonuses for cutting down on mileage, he said.
“Sometimes good intentions don’t get followed up too well, but it is what it is,” said Wilder, reached by phone. Wilder did not know about the stumbling block his idea had hit, but agreed that it was not a good idea for the town to take on maintenance of Knightdale Boulevard in order to get the local truck route designation.
Matt Goad: 919-829-4826