The city of Lawrence is taking new steps toward discouraging trucks from using North Kasold Drive and North Michigan Street as routes to the industrial park near Interstate 70.
The city has received several complaints from residents about increased truck traffic in their neighborhoods because of the closure of the Iowa Street bridge over the turnpike. Trucks are supposed to get off the interstate at the Lecompton exit, then follow the Farmer's Turnpike, officially County Road 438, to the industrial park.
"It appears that many trucks are just using Kasold and Michigan to get around the detour," Chuck Soules, the city's director of public works, said Friday.
Soules said the city has sent additional letters to remind businesses at the industrial park of the detour route. He also said the city plans to install more signs. The Kansas Turnpike Authority does not plan to add any more signs, according to Lisa Callahan, KTA director of public relations.
Another step being taken by the city is increased police enforcement. The streets are delivery routes for trucks, but that applies only to deliveries made along those roads. Several citations have already been issued, Soules said.
"We're trying to help the trucks not break the law," he said.
If the new measures don't decrease the truck traffic, Soules said the next step will be to ask the City Commission to designate the two streets as no-truck routes.
"I would assume by the end of next week, if there's significant truck traffic, I'll be hearing back from the residents that have contacted me already," Soules said.
One resident is Greg Moore, who lives about a block west of Kasold. He and several neighbors sent a letter to the city outlining their concerns. They also sent photos of the damage to the roundabouts and grassy areas.
A primary concern of the residents is the safety of pedestrians, especially once the weather gets warmer. Moore said there are a few children who walk to school, and others in the neighborhood like to run or walk along Kasold Drive, including Moore and his wife.
"I'd hate to see an accident. An 18-wheeler and a pedestrian don't mix," Moore said.
He and neighbors are also concerned about the damage to the recently reopened road.
"Those roundabouts aren't meant to have a truck driving over them," Moore said.
Unless someone witnesses the damage, there is little action that can be taken, Soules said. He said a truck was stuck in a roundabout this week and damaged landscaping, but by the time police arrived, it was gone.
"If we know who has caused the damage, we have billed the company," Soules said.