Eisenhower Dr. will be closed effective today. Truck drivers looking to eschew what KDOT lists as a less-than-15-minute detour are bringing more traffic onto the road than it’s equipped to handle, roads superintendent Randy Crawford said.
The portion of the road that will be closed is between Kellison Dr. and US-56, which is where the city road turns into a county road.
“We’re getting an awful lot of truck traffic that’s taking Eisenhower Dr.,” KDOT engineer Joe Palic said. “It’s a bypass to the bypass.”
Assistant police chief Clinton Jeffrey relayed concerns from citizens and other residents had placed calls to officials, who themselves witnessed some trucks cutting through.
“I saw two cattle trucks this morning that were not even local,” Crawford said. “I’ve seen rock trucks that looked like they were out of I don’t know where, heading north on Eisenhower.”
City administrator Roger Holter said Eisenhower has a 65,000-pound limit on truck traffic, but Marion has no authorized vehicle inspector to check truck weights.
Palic said the county’s portion of the road is equipped to handle less than the city’s.
“Once you get north of the ball diamonds, there’s just a few inches of surfacing on the roadway,” he said. “It’s not designed to handle heavy trucks.”
The wear that a “fully-loaded” semi trailer puts on roads is equivalent to 679 regular vehicles, Holter said.
Truckers set on bypassing the detour could still use Cedar St. or Industrial Rd. and Roosevelt St. to cut through. Holter is hoping they do not.
Holter has a commercial driver’s license from a previous job, and while he said he couldn’t speak for what truckers would do, he personally would not seek to cut through at any of those areas.
“I did not want to take my tractor trailer into residential areas,” he said. “Eisenhower does not look like a residential road.”
The barricades could not completely seal off Eisenhower Dr. because a resident lives between US-56 and Kellison Dr.
“Hopefully we can stagger the barricades so regular vehicles can get through and trucks can’t,” Palic said.
Palic said the closure wouldn’t affect access to highway businesses.
While enforcing the changes could be difficult, the city is simply hoping truckers follow the rules.
“We encourage all drivers to use the posted detour, as that provides the best safety and security for everyone,” Holter said.