All she route

From right, Negaunee City Councilmembers David Kangas, Toby Smith, and Nick Visser listen to a resident during public comment. The council approved the first reading of an ordinance amendment that will impose weight restrictions on city streets that heavy trucks currently use to access County Road 480 at its regular meeting on Thursday. (Journal photo by Lisa Bowers)

NEGAUNEE — The Negaunee City Council is moving full speed ahead with a plan to curtail heavy truck traffic through some parts of the city.

The council on Thursday approved the first reading of an ordinance that will make Business Route M-28 the only route for trucks weighing 10 tons or more to travel through the city.

Dan Weingarten, Michigan Department of Transportation Superior Region spokesperson, said a business route connects to a parent “US” or “M” route, and usually leads into a downtown business district and will commonly connect to the parent route on both ends.

Business M-28 consists of Teal Lake Avenue, between U.S. 41 and Main Street; Main Street between Teal Lake Avenue and Jackson Street; Jackson Street, between Main Street and Silver Street; Silver Street between Jackson and County Road; and County Road, from Silver Street to the Ishpeming city limits.

Because it is part of the state trunkline system, MDOT has jurisdiction over Business M-28, and pays for the upkeep of the road including plowing and maintenance, Weingarten said.

Signs designating the BR M-28 truck route in Negaunee. The Negaunee City Council approved the first reading of an ordinance amendment that will impose weight restrictions on city streets that heavy trucks currently use to access County Road 480 at its regular meeting on Thursday. (Journal photo by Lisa Bowers)

The Negaunee City Council voted unanimously in October to begin the process of reverting back to original ordinance language governing weight restrictions and repeal an Aug. 10, 2000 amendment.

The ordinance amendment enacted in 2000 added a corridor through the city to Marquette County Road 480, consisting of Division Street between Lincoln Street and Rail Street; Pioneer Street, between Main Street and Iron Street; Rail Street between Division Street and County Road 480; and County Road 480 to the Negaunee city limits.

The council is tackling the issue in response to complaints from residents and business owners who expressed concerns about safety, noise pollution and damage to city streets related to heavy truck traffic.

Mike Van Straten, who will begin a three year term on the council Dec. 1, voiced reservations about amending the truck route during the public comment portion of the meeting.

“Truck traffic is commerce, it’s how America rolls,” Van Straten said. “It would be nearly impossible — how would our goods and services be delivered to Negaunee without trucks?”

Councilman Nick Visser, who has been a vocal proponent of changing the truck route, said altering the route is a positive change for Negaunee.

“The costs far outweigh the benefits of having this truck route in the city,” Visser said. “We are not being paid by the county to take care of those roads.”

Councilman Jason Wallner said the ordinance change may ultimately mean a savings for the city by reducing wear and tear on city roads.

“The only thing we are doing is reducing that traffic in the area that we have to maintain,” Wallner said.

The council will hold a public hearing and a second reading of the ordinance at its next regular meeting on Dec. 14.

City Attorney Raymond O’Dea said per city charter, once an ordinance is adopted by the council it cannot be enacted until at least 10 days have passed.

“So if the council approves it on Dec. 14, it will not go into effect until Dec. 24,” Odea said.

Police Chief Jay Frusti said officers of the Negaunee Police Department will be familiar with the new weight restrictions as soon as the ordinance is officially changed.

“As soon as it becomes law in the city, we are going to be strictly enforcing the ordinance,” Frusti said.

Lisa Bowers can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. Her email address is lbowers@miningjournal.net.