As a petition drive seeking to ban non-resident heavy trucks from Highway 5A reaches high gear, a reasonable alternative could find some traction.
The trucking industry and MLA Kevin Krueger were receptive on Friday after TRU driver-training manager Ray Trenholm proposed a reduced speed limit on 5A for commercial trucks.
A trucker himself, Trenholm thinks a 70 km/h limit would effectively deter truckers from using the route.
Many residents along the corridor between Kamloops and Merritt are worried about their safety due to a high volume of commercial trucks using the two-lane route. Trenholm believes a ban would be unenforceable, though.
Krueger, who favours a ban and plans to table the petition next month in the legislature, called Trenholm’s proposal a smart idea.
“That makes good sense and it certainly couldn’t hurt,” Krueger said. “I don’t know if it will do the job, but it’s better than the situation we have now.”
Twin speed limits — one for commercial trucks, the other for non-commercial — could be an interim step until a permanent solution is found, he suggested. He said he’d take the idea to the legislature as well as to Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Mary Polak.
The ministry has so far ruled out a ban. Polak’s staff said on Friday that, because the minister had already issued a previous statement on the matter, she wouldn’t respond again until the matter comes up in the legislature.
The industry, meanwhile, was lukewarm to the suggestion.
“Ray’s absolutely right,” said Louise Yako, executive director of the B.C. Trucking Association. “It’s not uncommon to have two different speed limits.”
However, she said those rules apply on U.S. Interstate routes, divided highways with at least four lanes, allowing impeded traffic to pass.
“Wherever there is a two-lane situation, I think there are other road safety issues to consider.”
The idea bears consideration and additional study, she said.
“I think, in an effort to find a solution, we can maybe wind up doing more harm if we don’t give it real consideration and analysis,” Yako said.
She wasn’t prepared to say how the association might respond if a truck ban becomes a greater likelihood.
“We’ll take that as it comes.”