Originally created 11/27/05

Council considers closing road to trucks



Tractor-trailers and other large commercial trucks soon could be barred from what some say is a favored bypass around the congested Whiskey Road business corridor.

On Tuesday, the Aiken County Council passed the first reading of an ordinance to prohibit truck traffic on Powderhouse Road between Whiskey and Pine Log roads. A public hearing and two more favorable votes are required for the measure to become law.

The section of road is in council member Gary Bunker's district. He said Powderhouse Road residents have complained for some time about the big trucks using the road. Mr. Bunker also is chairman of an ad hoc committee studying a possible Whiskey and Powderhouse roads connector.

"Lots of folks are concerned there's going to be a bad accident before too long," he told the development committee when he recently presented the proposed ordinance.

"Even since before the committee was formed, I've been getting a lot of complaints from people living on Powderhouse about a rather extraordinary increase in truck traffic, particularly logging trucks," he said later in an interview.

In committee, council member Charles Barton was against an absolute ban on trucks using the road.

"I'd like for us to maybe consider a weight top. I think we need to look at it but I don't know about stopping all (truck) traffic," he said.

The ordinance will return to the development committee for fine tuning before the second reading.

The section of road at issue is narrow, winding, hilly and densely developed. The speed limit is 35 mph. It wasn't designed or intended as a bypass for large trucks, Mr. Bunker said.

Powderhouse Road is a state-controlled road. According to County Administrator Clay Killian, the South Carolina Department of Transportation policy allows local governments to impose and enforce traffic regulations on state roads.

He said the county has exercised that prerogative a few times, most recently when it banned trucks from using Citadel Road, which is just south of Powderhouse Road and runs between Whiskey and Banks Mill roads.

Reach J.C. Lexow at (803) 648-1395, ext. 106, or jc.lexow@augustachronicle.com.