Shutdown of FWW brings crackdown

Friday, September 25, 1998

The Cincinnati Enquirer

After an overturned tractor-trailer rig shut down Fort Washington Way on Tuesday, Cincinnati police want to increase enforcement of the truck ban on the busy highway.

About 700 citations have been issued since July 13, said Sgt. Rudy Gruenke, with the police division's traffic section. But Tuesday's accident, and citations given to several truck drivers Thursday afternoon, show that many are ignoring the ban.

"What we have seen is that law enforcement has taken a very aggressive approach in terms of enforcement," said Tim Schoch, spokesman for ARTIMIS, the Tristate's traffic management system.

The effort has been very visible, considering the number of citations issued and the amount of traffic police are dealing with, he said. Before construction began, an estimated 150,000 cars used the highway daily.

Vehicles wider than 7 feet were banned this summer at the start of the $146.9 million project to reconstruct Fort Washington Way. Traffic is funneled onto two narrow lanes each direction on the former eastbound lanes as crews rebuild the westbound lanes.

On Tuesday, traffic stopped for several hours after a truck rig carrying beer overturned in the morning rush hour and blocked all four lanes.

The police department has had several special details ticketing motorists breaking the 7-foot ban, including one Thursday afternoon. The traffic unit would like to have more details and officers regularly targeting the stretch of highway to improve compliance, Sgt. Gruenke said. The department is looking for additional funding to pay for it, he said.

The random details, as well as the normal monitoring of vehicle size on Fort Washington Way, will continue through the end of construction, he said.

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