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'Trucks are a hazard’: Carroll commissioners restrict traffic on Keymar road after residents complain

“Thru” trucks weighing more than 26,000 pounds will no longer be allowed to travel on Y Road in Keymar after the Board of Carroll County Commissioners voted Thursday to restrict traffic.

After the county received a letter from disgruntled residents in November, county staff evaluated traffic along the approximately half-mile stretch of road, Deputy Director of Public Works Doug Brown said outside the meeting. The road is bordered by Md. 194 and Middleburg Road, is 18 feet wide at its most narrow part, and intersects with railroad tracks at two points, according to Brown.

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At the commissioners’ meeting, two residents spoke to the problems they see resulting from the truck traffic.

Larry Bond, who lives at the end of Y Road, said he was mowing his lawn a month ago in front of his property when a dump truck came down the road over the center line. A passing car ran off the road, missed Bond by a few feet and nearly hit a pole, he said.

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“They cannot make the curve without running over the yellow line,” Bond said. “I just think it should be restricted for safety reasons.”

Another Y Road resident, George Heideger, also spoke to the truck traffic, saying they run off the road frequently and leave ruts in his grass.

“The road’s not wide enough for the traffic,” he said. “Trucks are a hazard on the road.”

Commissioner Stephen Wantz, R-District 1, suggested trucks have been traveling through Y Road because GPS applications on smartphones lead drivers that way to save a few minutes.

County traffic engineer Christopher Letnaunchyn evaluated the road and found the number of trucks on Y Road is higher than what is typically found by the Maryland Department of Transportation on this type of road, Brown said.

When looking at vehicle classes — ranging from smaller four-axle single trucks to larger six-axle doubles — Letnaunchyn found that Y Road experienced as much as 10 times what is typical traffic for some classes of large trucks. For example, class seven vehicles — four-axle singles — account for 0.5% of the total traffic on Y Road, compared to the typical 0.05%.

With the roadway restricted, trucks greater than 26,000 pounds will need to make a 0.67-mile detour, according to Brown. Such trucks will need to continue north on Md. 194 and turn right onto Middleburg Road, or trucks traveling west on Middleburg Road will need to continue west on Middleburg to Md. 194, Brown said.

An example of a 26,000-pound vehicle would be an unloaded single-axle dump truck, Letnaunchyn said.

The traffic evaluation report was completed in August, Brown said outside the meeting. Such traffic studies take time because staff have to count vehicles during certain hours and seasons, he said.

Signs will be made in the next two to three weeks to alert drivers to the new restrictions on Y Road, according to Letnaunchyn. The restriction will be effective as soon as those signs are installed.

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