Local News

Truckers Beware! State Wants to Ease Pains in Passing Lanes

Posted July 17, 2000

— Truckers on Interstate 40 have seen the warnings on the pavement, now they are getting the word overhead. Big tractor-trailers are banned from the passing lanes on one of the busiest sections of the highway.

Last year, the state banned big rigs from the far left or passing lanes on I-40 from Harrison Avenue to I-540, shortly after additional lanes were added. The idea was to keep the bigger, slower-moving vehicles out of the fast lane to help traffic flow smoothly.

DOT crews are now using overhead signs to re-enforce the concept.

Along with the new signs, law enforcement will also put some teeth in the lane ban. TheState Highway Patrolsays troopers issued warnings until just a few months ago. They now plan to hand out tickets to violators.

Truckers who do not heed the lane ban can receive fines and court costs of $100 per violation. The DOT says along with traffic flow, there is an engineering and safety reason to keep trucks off the inside lane.

"When we widened Interstate 40 a year and a half ago, the inside lane -- the median lane as we call it -- we utilized an existing shoulder," says DOT resident engineer Bobby Downes. "Our existing shoulders are not to the same standard as our regular roadway pavement so they will not hold up to truck traffic." Smooth traffic flow does not apply to I-40. State officials and state troopers are trying to ease the pain in the passing lane. -->

DOT crews are installing overhead signs along I-40, warning truckers of the lane ban through next week. Except for this weekend, there will be lane closures on the interstate from 8 p.m. until 6 a.m. from Harrison Avenue to I-540.

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