PennDOT hopes signs will guide trucks away from restricted route

In an attempt to curb truckers from driving on the weight-restricted portion of Freedom Crider Road in Cranberry Township, the Pennsylvania Dept. of Transportation (PennDOT) has erected 6-ft. tall “Traffic Alert” guidance signs at five locations along the state road. The signs steer commercial trucks onto an alternate truck route instead of continuing on Freedom Crider Road. 

PennDOT held a news conference Wednesday to introduce the signs to the public, according to a report in the Cranberry Patch.

“Oftentimes trucks will use (Freedom Crider Rd.) route illegally,” said Dan Cessna, district executive for PennDOT’s District 11. “It’s certainly a shortcut from Cranberry Township to Route 65.”

The Freedom Rd. route isn’t conducive to safe truck travel because the highway is narrow, winding and steep, particularly where the road turns into a sharp slope on Ninth Street in Freedom, Cessna said.

In the last five years, there have been eight reportable heavy-truck crashes on Freedom Crider Road, including an accident in September that seriously injured a driver, the Patch report states.

“We have implemented this new truck route to stop large trucks from using Freedom Crider Road into Freedom Borough,” Cessna said. “Operators who continue to use this roadway jeopardize not only their own safety but the safety of every motorist they encounter.”

Cessna said there has been a significant increase in the number of commercial trucks using Freedom Crider Road to get to and from Cranberry in the last several years. Freedom Crider Road has a 10-ton weight limit between its intersection with Route 989 in New Sewickley Township and Route 65 in Freedom.

Cessna said most truckers are unaware of the weight restrictions because they are using non-commercial GPS devices. 

“Most times, honestly, it’s an act of innocence because a lot of commercial truck drivers are from outside the area,” Cessna said. “Rather than a commercial GPS device they are using one that regular citizens would use for their cars and it’s inadvertently directing them across the weight-limited roadway.”

Chief Eugene St. Clair of the Freedom Police Dept. said his officers have issued 36 citations since September for overweight trucks using the weight-restricted section of the road.

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