Scottville to consider updating truck route. 

November 3, 2021

Scottville to consider updating truck route. 

By Rob Alway

Editor’s note: Rob Alway is a Scottville city commissioner and editor-in-chief/owner of Mason County Press. This article serves as an op-ed, including some opinion as an elected official. 

SCOTTVILLE — The Scottville City Commission is considering changing the city’s truck routes, which would include limiting truck traffic on Main Street north of First Street.

Police Chief Matt Murphy has suggested that the truck route be as follows: From the south, South Main Street to West First Street to South Reinberg Avenue to State Street (US 10). From the north: No trucks allowed. Trucks would be routed on US 31 (the bypass) to US 10 and then may turn east into town. There would be exceptions for local traffic, of course, and also for special events when State Street may be shut down. 

As a commissioner, I support this move and I will explain why. 

First, keep in mind, that this is about trucks hauling trailers. The technical details explaining exactly what trucks will be allowed will be worked out in committee. 

The current truck routes were established back in the 1980s when traffic patterns in town were much different. They include passage through several residential areas of town and are rarely used by trucks. One of the biggest changes in traffic patterns in town was the construction of the US 31 bypass, which has been in place for almost 30 years. Before the bypass, North Main Street was US 31. This required semi-trucks to turn north onto Main Street from State Street (US 10), and, worse, to turn west onto State Street from North Main Street, often scraping the building on the northwest corner. 

I live on North Main Street and witness the heavy truck traffic along this residential street. Many of these trucks exceed the speed limit of 30 mph (as do many other vehicles). While speed is certainly a concern for those of us representing the citizens of Scottville, the other concern is the wear and tear on our city streets. A state highway, built for heavy truck traffic, is just a short distance out of town. Trucks can easily continue south on US 31 to the US 10-31 intersection and then turn east into town. 

Also, the 100 block of South Main Street, downtown, is too narrow for semi-trucks with trailers. The great parking debate in Scottville has gone on for decades. I personally would like to see parallel parking on one side of the street and angle parking on the other. I believe this would help widen the street out a bit. But, regardless of the width, just like the other streets, the street’s lifespan will last much longer without the heavy equipment driving on it. 

One of the anticipated arguments about this new route is the fact that there aren’t traffic lights at US 10 and US 31 or at State Street (US 10) and Reinberg Avenue. This is an issue that ultimately needs to be resolved by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), which controls the state highways. However, I can say that the City of Scottville plans to make requests to MDOT that it consider traffic lights at both these intersections. As a reporter and a as a former first responder I have seen way too many car crashes at both of these intersections. Regardless of the truck route status, these lights would help save lives and property. 

“This is not a project that is going to be resolved quickly,” City Manager Jimmy Newkirk said. “This is part of a bigger project to preserve the city’s roads, lessen the congestion in the downtown area, and offer a safe route for commercial and heavy traffic through downtown. Local deliveries for businesses will not be affected. The purpose of a truck route is the passing through a town. The tuck route will not be the only roads built to class A standards but will be the pathway designated for those driving through.”

The city’s ordinance committee, which is also tasked with public safety, has started to review the truck route already and will continue to review this process. The planning commission will likely also be involved. 

“The public will most certainly be involved and have multiple opportunities to provide input,” Newkirk said. “With the possible addition of a truck stop at the bypass intersection we need to be prepared for a change in traffic patterns at the city limits. No one is asking for or trying to eliminate truck traffic in Scottville. But over the last 40 years traffic patterns, businesses, and the amount of traffic have all changed. Scottville truck route ordinance needs to be updated to reflect those changes.”

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