Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Big Wheels Turning

With massive road construction projects and the well known Intermodal project in southern Johnson County, it’s fairly clear the metro area is fast becoming a major shipping and receiving hub.  It won’t be long before it will be hard to ignore the increased commercial motor vehicle, or semi-truck, traffic in the area and in Overland Park. We’ve been gearing up so we are prepared to monitor that traffic.

Commercial motor vehicles are closely monitored for a variety of reasons.  They are required to, for example, follow weight limit restrictions, operating restrictions, and maintain properly functioning equipment.  These guidelines might sound restrictive, but they are important.

Roadways are constructed to handle only so much weight.  When traffic moves over the roadway, it actually moves like a wave.  Overweight traffic can cause the roadway to buckle and crack, often creating pot holes.  The end result is costly repairs and motorist delays due to construction.  Malfunctioning equipment, overweight loads, or drivers pushing their own limits can cause dangers such as reduced visibility or increased stopping distances.  Unsecured loads can cause direct damage or secondary collisions as motorist try to avoid road hazards.

Overland Park currently has three certified Commercial Motor Vehicle inspectors assigned to the Traffic Safety Unit.  These officers conduct inspections regularly on commercial motor vehicles that travel through the city.  Yesterday they participated in a cooperative effort in Kansas City, Kansas in which they completed.  The Overland Park officers were responsible for completing 11 of the 45 inspections.  The 11 inspections resulted in 25 citations issued and two vehicles that were determined to be unsafe for continued use until corrections or repairs were made.

It is estimated by the Kansas Department of Transportation that by 2040, traffic in this state will more than double from 25,000 vehicles per day to 64,000.  Overland Park has four major highways that cut through the city.  With the anticipated increase of commercial motor vehicle traffic, we are doing our part to prepare for your safety and theirs.