Bomgaars holds ribbon cutting

After more than 30 minutes of discussion, which was by far the longest discussion of the night, the five-member Winterset City Council took the first vote on a proposal to create designated truck routes through the city.

The concept is to create designated routes for large and heavy trucks to follow, so that they are not cutting through the city – or taking a shortcut through town – to get from one side of town to another.

Some downtown businesses have complained that their windows shake when heavy trucks roll through.

The ideal route for trucks, city officials say, is for drivers to use Norwood Avenue just east of Winterset. If they need to travel to St. Charles, they would be expected to go south past the entrance to the wastewater treatment plant, across the bridge – which is rated for legal, or 40-ton, loads – to the St. Charles Road and turn left.

The plan was to create a five-ton weight limit for the trucks, but after considerable discussion, prompted by comments which came from a public hearing on the matter, officials decided to increase the weight limit to 15 tons.

A designated truck route “would prevent a truck from meandering down Court Avenue,” one council member said.

“We don’t want truckers just taking a short cut through town.”

At least two of the five members of the council said they had concerns about the proposed ordinance, especially when it came to the first reading, or vote, on the matter.

An ordinance requires three votes, (readings) for it to become law. The votes are generally taken at three consecutive meetings, however, in the event of an emergency or a non-controversial (non-con) issue, there is a mechanism for officials to suspend the rule and hurry up approve an ordinance.

“I just think we’re opening a can of worms,” councilman Howard Harrell said.

Trevor Bindel also had issues with the proposed ordinance, and said that it should probably be tweaked and reworked a bit before it comes before the council again. He suggested some items “be clarified”.

And then the comments came at the public hearing.

Folks indicated that while a five-ton weight restriction on trucks would restrict big trucks, the really big trucks that people are concerned about are the semi-trailer trucks and rock trucks.

In the end, the council approved the first vote to creating a designated truck route, with a 15-ton weight limit.