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Trucks avoiding toll roads due to rate increases concerns neighbors

BOURBON, Ind. – An increase in semi-truck traffic on non-toll road highways could be the result of the recent toll rate increase for trucks in Indiana. As of Oct. 5, tolls for trucks went up 35 percent to support a $1 billion infrastructure plan proposed by Governor Eric Holcomb.

Truck drivers said if they can avoid the toll roads because of the rate increase and use highways like US30, US6, or US331 – they almost always will.

“I think that with the regular increases that we’ve had here and then seeing a 35 percent increase again I think you’ll find a lot of traffic is going to leave those lanes,” Carl Svendsen, Chief Strategy Officer with Holver Lines, said.

Svendsen said it’s not a surprise that truck drivers are using non-toll road highways. He said he also expects trucking companies to start charging more for consumer goods that have to make the trip through Indiana because of the rate increase.

The diversion of truck traffic from the toll road is cause for both safety and infrastructure concerns in Marshall County.

“They may make the decision to go on a different highway and that highway may not be designed to handle truck traffic in significant volumes,” Svendsen said

Those who live along or near highways like US30 seeing the increase in traffic say trucks are sometimes using county roads as shortcuts to get from highway to highway.

 “This is a main through fair for the shortcut from Bremen down to US30 so everybody takes this versus 331 a lot to save them several miles,” Patrick Walters said, who’s lives on Fir Road just off of US30 for 25 years.

In Marshall County, there’s been a recent push for police to start issuing fines to drivers who use county roads like Fir Road when they are not making any local deliveries.

“No Through Trucks” signs have been posted along county roads but they only serve as a deterrent.

“It is posted on both ends of Fir Road that we don’t allow trucks, but they’re still using them,” Walters said. “Have them start issuing tickets to people that are speeding, also the truck traffic.”

An ordinance that could allow for clearer enforcement and fines when using county roads will be voted on in November.

For now, trucking companies say drivers will most likely continue to use highways like US30, US331, US31, and US6 to avoid the toll roads.

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