DOT: Commercial trucks were major problem during snow storm

1:01 AM, Feb 4, 2014   |    comments
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ATLANTA - Many people complained about the number of commercial trucks on Atlanta's roadways during last week's gridlock. Turns out that some of them weren't supposed to be in the city at all.

The Georgia Department of Transportation admits the number of trucks on the roads was a major a problem.

A spokesperson told 11Alive's Blayne Alexander it is one of the issues they will bring up to the governor's new commission to figure out what can be done to fix it in the coming weeks.

It was a recurring theme during last week's storm - trucks clogging the area's roads, and not moving an inch.

Even Gov. Nathan Deal addressed the problem at a news conference last Wednesday morning.

"Even under the best of circumstances, when they get crossways on a roadway - though it may be a multi-lane roadway - it is virtually impossible for private vehicles to get around them, and that's one of the major obstructions we have," Deal said.

Georgia Code already has a section addressing commercial trucks.

After the 2011 snow storm, lawmakers passed a bill requiring vehicles with four or more drive wheels to use tire chains during inclement weather. That same bill required cars to at least use four-wheel drive. Another law already on the books prohibits commercial trucks inside of Interstate 285 unless making a delivery.

But the problem is enforcement. Georgia Public Safety Commissioner Mark McDonough told Alexander there appeared to be additional trucks inside the city last week, but there's no easy way to tell which ones were making deliveries and which were trying to escape the traffic gridlock.

Tuesday, GDOT used electronic signs to issue a series of warnings. The first - "Trucks use chains thru Metro Atlanta Heavy ice next 30 mi."

A more urgent sign was posted on electronic message boards later - "Travel into Atlanta not recommended Extreme delays ahead."

McDonough says the agency will work with the Georgia Motor Trucking Association to better enforce regulations. The department is also considering requiring chains as part of their vehicle inspection.

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