Town officials in Chesterton, Indiana, announced that signs are now in place to enforce a reduced speed limit for truck traffic on Ind. 49.

Just a few weeks after announcing plans to reduce the speed limit for trucks, officials in Chesterton, Indiana, in partnership with the Indiana Department of Transportation, have erected signs lowering the truck speed limit from 50 m.p.h. to 40 m.p.h.

The lowered semi speed limit is in place on Ind. 49 between the I-94 interchange and the Indiana Toll Road and applies to any vehicle with a gross weight over 13 tons, according to the city.

Indiana Department of Transportation crews have also completed construction on three turnaround cross-over culverts in the median between East Porter Ave. and the Indiana Toll Road to give local police a convenient place to stage and conduct stationary patrol to “monitor traffic lights and the speed and the truck lane.” Using the culverts, police can now “execute timely U-turns on witnessing infractions in the oncoming lanes of traffic.”

Chesterton Police Chief Tim Richardson explained the reasoning for lowering the speed limit for trucks only: “The sheer dynamics of Ind. 49 in Chesterton and the way you’re coming over hills and around curves, lowering the speed limit to 40 is not meant to punish the truckers, because they’re very important and vital to our society today. But by the sheer dynamics, it gives them more stopping distance at traffic lights and we hope that greatly improves safety. We didn’t want to punish motorists, Chesterton residents and people passing through, by making them do 40. The dynamic really affects the truckers because of their weight and their stopping distances.”

“If the speed for trucks is 50, they’re doing 58, and that’s way too fast to to stop in time when they’re coming over the overpass or around those curves,” Richardson added. “If it says 40, we hope they stay between 40 and 46 or 47 and then they’ll have the right stopping distance.”

“Finally we have in place all the tools we need to enforce traffic laws more efficiently and responsively,” Richardson said. “The truck lane signage posted last year, the median crossovers, and now the reduced speed limit for semis give us both an enhanced capability and leverage to slow things down on Ind. 49. Already we’ve seen positive results from enforcement efforts when officers use the three new turnarounds, and I’m confident that as word spreads, not simply among the truckers but the commuters as well who travel frequently through our town, compliance will be much improved and along with it safety. INDOT certainly met the needs of the citizens of the Town of Chesterton in a professional and timely manner. We appreciate the partnership that has been forged.”

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