Increasing truck traffic causing concerns east of Greenwood

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JOHNSON COUNTY, Ind -- Several residents who live on the outskirts of Greenwood are asking city and county leaders to find some solution to an increase in semi truck traffic on local roads that aren’t designed for the large vehicles.

Steve Dougherty says he and his neighbors witness semi truck drivers failing to make tight turns and getting stuck in ditches about once a month at the corner of Griffith and Rocklane Roads, just east of Greenwood city limits.

“Semis can’t make the left hand turn up here to go back to 65, and they’re getting caught on the pole,” Dougherty said.

“I had pulled, in the last three years, probably four or five semis myself off with my farm tractor,” Dougherty said. “But, the deputy sheriff told me you could be liable if you tear up something, so I decided not to do that anymore.”

Dougherty’s neighbor, John Peterson says the repeated accidents are taking a toll on the pavement of the road, and every incident becomes a disruption to local traffic.

“Whenever one gets stuck up there, it’s a mess,” Peterson said. “And it takes about two hours for them to get a crane and to lift the truck out of the ditch and put them back on the road.”

Both men agree the increase in truck traffic has coincided with increased business development on Greenwood’s east side. They say the truckers seem to be trying to use county roads to get in and out of Greenwood and over too Shelbyville. While they’re both in favor of economic development in their area, they hope something can be done to limit truck traffic on their county roads.

“A simple solution to me would be a sign that says ‘no trucks’ or ‘trucks can’t make the turn,’” Peterson said.

Greenwood City Council President, Mike Campbell, says he sympathizes with the residents’ concerns. He agrees many of the semi trucks running into trouble are either getting lost, or trying to shorten their routes between Greenwood and Shelbyville.

“It is shorter to cut through the country,” Campbell said. “But when you’re driving an 18-wheeler, those roads aren’t made for it.”

Greenwood has recently banned semi trucks from driving through the downtown area and on a residential road just west of I-65. However, he says this situation is tricky because it involves roads that go in and out of Greenwood city limits. Prohibiting big trucks from the routes would require some kind of joint action involving the city and Johnson County.

“Any time you work between intergovernmental groups it’s sometimes difficult to get things done quickly,” Campbell said.

Rather than a truck traffic ban, Campbell and Greenwood Mayor Mark Myers say they would prefer talking directly with companies about addressing the issue with their truck drivers.

Myers said he plans to reach out to those companies soon.

“I’ll have my engineering department reach out to the local trucking companies that we have out on the east side and just try to reinforce the fact that we want them to use Worthsville Road onto I-65 and take that route,” Myers said.

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