Semi-tractor road test successful
Around 30 business owners, community members, city workers and officials gathered at the intersection of Central St. and O’Connell Ave late Thursday morning to watch the semi-tractor road test. At a recent city council meeting a few community members were concerned about the size of the new bumpouts on the corners of the intersection and the affect it would have on semi-trucks bringing in and out products from the community. Joel Pingeon from Pingeon Trucking Inc. was asked to bring out one of his tractor trailers to do the test drive.
An interesting thing happened as Pingeon was setting up to do the test drive, another semitruck used the intersection making a right off of O’Connell onto Central St. heading east out of town. The driver of that truck probably wondered why so many people were watching so carefully as they successfully made the turn without any problems. Guesstimates on the size of the truck was a little over 60 feet.
We actually know the size of the truck Pingeon brought out for the test run. It was a Peterbuilt truck and flatbed trailer. The total length of the tractor and trailer was 77 feet. Bill Helget, Principal Engineer Bolton & Menk, Inc. provided additional measurements of Pingeon’s truck after the test run. The tractor measured approximately 25 feet from the front axle to the back axle. The distance from the back axle of the trailer to the back axle of the tractor measured approximately 39 feet. Pingeon did multiple turns off of O’Connell Ave heading both east and west on Central St. Each time he was able to make the turns. He did have to use both lanes to make the turns. This would be true on any street using a truck of that length. While there still may be concerns in the community, the road test was successful and Pingeon showed that it could be done with a longer semi-tractor. After making multiple turns Pingeon was asked to repeat the same turn off of O’Connell Ave. onto Central St. heading east without swinging wide in the intersection. He did the final turn as requested by those watching and while it seemed tight, he was able to make the turn.
“The 77ft semi making several different attempts based on the feedback from the crowed helped ensure all of the comments, questions, concerns regarding these curb extensions were fully explored,” said City Manager Joe Stremcha adding, “After years of planning and community input, the end result is a safer intersection for the community.” For the semi and non-semi drivers in the community, there will be an additional aspect to that intersection for the community to look for. The stop signs will be placed further back then they are currently and have been in the past. Helget explained that the stop signs will be place 4-7 feet back from the ped ramp.
A ped ramp or curb ramp provides access between the sidewalk and roadway for people using wheelchairs, strollers, walkers, bicycles and those with mobility restrictions that make it difficult to step up or down curbs. These same type of curb extensions are planned to be placed near the school on Burns Ave. Once completed that intersection will also have a RRFB which is a Rectangular Rapid-Flashing Beacon for pedestrian safety.