A simple suggestion from a TRU trucking instructor offers a possible solution to the dilemma of big rigs on Highway 5A.
The issue of tractor-trailers rolling through the ambling countryside on 5A's narrow two lanes has long vexed residents, and some politicians. Many want big rigs banned entirely from the route, saying it is not built to handle the volume or size of the truck now cruising the route in increasing numbers.
MLA Kevin Krueger has vowed to push for a ban with his Liberal counterparts. He will present a petition to the legislature on behalf of residents later this parliamentary session.
Professional truckers have expressed their opposition to the idea of a ban, however, and the government has already said such a prohibition is not likely.
Enter Ray Trenholm. He's a professional trucker with 33 years of experience now teaching students at Thompson Rivers University. He has a simple suggestion he believes would offer a viable solution - reduce the speed limit on Highway 5A from the current 80 km/h to 70 km/h.
The move would effectively divert the long-haul traffic, he says, as the additional time it would take to travel the route would make passage across the Coquihalla more appealing. And if truckers continue to want to travel the route, the reduction in speed will reduce the chances of tragic collisions, he adds.
Of course, the plan is not perfect. Speed limits are only meaningful if they are obeyed and to ensure that, they must be enforced. More enforcement would be required to ensure compliance.
Some will also argue that the speed limit is already lower than 70 km/h in the more dangerous sections of the road, such as on some of the winding curves. Reducing speeds on the open straight stretches would accomplish nothing.
That's not true. Basic math shows a 10 km/h reduction in the speed limit will add 10 more minutes to the trek.
That might not seem a lot, but when truckers are already adding time by taking the more circuitous route, it could prove the tipping point for many. Even a reduction of 50 or 25 per cent in the volume of commercial truck traffic would prove meaningful.
The simple solution is worth serious consideration.
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