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Possible prohibition of heavy trucks on Third Avenue West in Dickinson

Motorists travel Tuesday afternoon on Third Avenue West in Dickinson near its intersection with Fourth Street West. A proposed city ordinance may eliminate most truck traffic on the road.

A busy section of Third Avenue West in Dickinson may soon be free of most heavy truck traffic as officials consider prohibiting their use of it.

The Dickinson City Commission unanimously approved the first reading of a proposed ordinance during a Tuesday evening meeting at City Hall.

The road is a section of Highway 22, which runs north and south through the middle of the city.

"The proposed ordinance is a proactive step in dealing with traffic congestion, traffic safety and student safety on Third Avenue West," said Dustin Dassinger, Dickinson Police chief. "There's an increase in hazardous materials being transported through the heart of our city."

Trinity Elementary West recently changed its release time from 3:15 p.m. to 3 p.m. to help alleviate traffic, he added.

The ordinance targets the section of road between Interstate 94 and South Broadway Street. If it's approved, vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 pounds will be prohibited from traveling there.

"The biggest part of this ordinance is it allows our officers on-scene to write a citation," Dassinger said.

The ordinance would allow heavy trucks to pick up and drop off merchandise as long as a direct route is taken. It would allow for a fine of at least $100.

City Attorney Matthew Kolling said snow removal equipment, emergency vehicles and commercial passenger vehicles would be among those exempt from the ordinance.

"What this is likely to do is put more traffic on the west business loop," said Commissioner Gene Jackson.

Commissioner Carson Steiner pointed out trucks coming off of the interstate would not be able to turn south to connect to State Avenue.

"We're hoping to, you know, direct most of the traffic back onto the interstate system," Dassinger said.

Proper signage would be put in place, he added.

Mayor Dennis Johnson suggested officers write warning tickets for a period of time after the ordinance is enacted, if it passes.

Dassinger agreed and said officers would be flexible and allow some time for people to adjust.

Johnson also suggested the commission schedule a public hearing on the matter.

Last year, an ordinance was passed prohibiting vehicles exceeding 5 tons registered gross weight from driving anywhere but truck routes in Dickinson.