Archive for Wednesday, May 24, 2000

Some trucks detouring through Tonganoxie

May 24, 2000

In recent weeks, it seems that more wide-load trucks have been rumbling through Tonganoxie along U.S. 24-40 highway.

This, according to state officials, is a trend that could continue until work on Interstate 70 east of the Bonner Springs turnpike terminal is completed.

"Normally, when we're not in our construction season, we let trucks up to 16 feet wide on the turnpike," said Ed Hanlon, Wichita, patrol administrative assistant for the Kansas Turnpike Authority. "And we allow them to do that from Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m."

But with I-70 narrowed to one lane east of the turnpike's eastern terminal, KTA is prohibiting wide trucks through that area.

Hanlon said that when a truck exceeds regular width, Kansas law requires a special permit.

"The special permit office routes those loads around structures," he said. "And right now they're being routed through 24-40 by the Kansas permit office."

Steve Zimmerman, special permit administrator with Kansas Department of Transportation bureau of traffic engineering, said in some instances that's right.

The special permit office issued about 50,000 oversize and overweight permits in 1999. Wide trucks are those that are 8.5 feet or wider.

For those who hold annual permits, the permit office provides suggestions of the best routes to take. For the individual permits, the permit office also makes suggestions and, when necessary, reroutes the vehicles through other areas.

Taking into consideration the I-70 construction near Bonner Springs, Zimmerman described the reroute for this area.

"Most of the times we route them up at Kansas Highway 7 and across on Parallel to 435 where they can get back on I-70," Zimmerman said.

Zimmerman said sometimes the truckers don't stay on Interstate 70 long enough to make it to K-7.

"A lot of them will get off as soon as they can," he said. "Chances are then that they'd be routed through Tonganoxie on 24-40."

But Hanlon said that as much as possible, truckers tend to stick to the turnpike.

This is more economical than leaving the turnpike, Hanlon added.

"Doing that adds on to their time and their mileage and that adds on to their costs," he said.

"Most of the traffic that's coming through Tonganoxie is coming because they don't have any choice. Time is money and so are miles."

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