Friday, June 30, 2000

Thousands of truckers cited on Ft. Washington Way

By Mara H. Gottfried
The Cincinnati Enquirer

About 500 truck drivers are cited each month for driving on Fort Washington Way in violation of a ban on trucks wider than 7 feet. One driver illustrated Wednesday night why this ban is in place, police say.

The Cincinnati Police Division said Darren Paul, 29, lost control of his truck after leaving southbound Interstate 71 and knocking loose 380 feet of the center concrete barrier, before his vehicle flipped into the northbound lanes.

Police closed the highway in both directions for about 10 hours until after 7 a.m. Thursday, while workers repaired the concrete barrier and cleaned up more than 100 gallons of diesel fuel.

Mr. Paul, of New Orleans, was treated for minor injuries at University Hospital and released Thursday morning.

Sgt. Rudy Gruenke, of the police division's traffic unit, said more than 4,000 citations have been issued to drivers since the ban took effect in the summer of 1998 at the start of the Fort Washington Way reconstruction.

"We've debated over and over what we can do to increase compliance and get them off the road,'' he said.

"They raised the fine, they made it a mandatory court appearance. Yet they still continue to disregard the signs.''

Police patrol the area, looking for violators every day, Sgt. Gruenke said.

"We could stay out there all day and we would still be writing citations nonstop,'' he said.

A Cincinnati trucking company said avoiding Fort Washington Way is a headache for its drivers.

"It does hold us up a lot, going around the road every single day,'' said Bob Honebrink, a dispatcher for S & S Delivery Inc. in Bond Hill. ""We have to go through the side roads now. The ban affects us more than probably anyone because we're mostly a local company.''

Mr. Paul was cited $119 for violating the ban that prohibits vehicles wider than 7 feet on the Fort Washington Way. He has a July court date and faces a maximum of 30 days in jail and a $500 fine.

The truck is owned by Daleville, Ind.-based Burlington Motor Carriers, where Mr. Paul has been an employee since February.

He was transporting 47,000 pounds of cat food.

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