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Heavy trucks on 12th Street a concern
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A heavy truck on Fennimores 12th Street has been a routine occurrence this summer, as was the case Tuesday morning, Oct. 1. - photo by Robert Callahan photo

The Fennimore Common Council’s Streets, Sanitation and Recycling Committee discussed the possibility of re-routing heavy truck traffic during a meeting Monday evening, Sept. 30.

Matt, Jeff and John Rutkowski first approached the Common Council during a meeting Monday, Sept. 9. Matt told the Council he  has noticed the number of children at play in the 12th Street neighborhood.

“My concern was if somebody might get killed someday,” he said. “I drive dump truck for a living and I know how fast those truck stops and they don’t stop fast.”

The Rutkowskis would prefer heavy trucks utilizing the quarry just west of Fennimore travel Roger Hollow Road, rather than 12th Street.

“I think to eliminate this problem and just get the trucks off the road, post it at 10 tons at both ends and re-route them out Roger Hollow Road and back through town,” Matt said.

Matt and John Rutkowski attended Monday night’s Committee meeting, as did 12th Street residents Gerald and Gladys O’Brien, and Kenneth Kauffman. David Cauffman, Jr., who travels 12th Street in large farm equipment, was also in attendance.

“I’m here because I am curious as to why,” Cauffman said. “I just have been going up and down those streets for years so I am here out of curiosity.”

Mayor Charles Stenner explained when 12th Street was seal coated this summer a tremendous amount of dust was created as a result of the heavy truck traffic, which brought the issue to light.

“Along with that, people bring up the same comments we have always had as far as the amount of truck traffic, the speeds and everything else in trying to keep congestion off that street and sending it out Roger Hollow,” Stenner said. “We have a lot of different arguments from a lot of different ways.

“We are just here to listen.”

If a weight limit were enforced on 12th Street, heavy trucks traveling east from the quarry would hypothetically turn north onto Roger Hollow Road, east onto Fourth Street, south onto Lincoln Avenue and east onto 12th Street.

Stenner took a moment Monday evening to play the role of devil’s advocate.

“If you take Fourth Street, you got houses  on both sides of that and that is a highway,” he said. “So you got the same thing there.

“You talk about kids playing, we got kids living on that street up there. So those arguments are not necessarily good ones.”

Matt countered if one did not want to argue the safety aspect, one could argue the toll the heavy trucks take on 12th Street.

“You are taking the people of Fennimore, our tax dollars, and burning it up because that road isn’t going to last as long with those trucks,” he said. “If it was projected to last 50 years, and you got that much traffic running on it, it isn’t going to make it 50 years. It is only going to make it 10 or 10 years and you are going to have to redo it.”

Stenner said 12th Street has been constructed to withstand heavy truck traffic and will last longer than Matt might expect.

“So why don’t we see if we can contact the state and adopt it, and we will make that the state highway out there,” John retorted. “I’m serious.”

“We are here to try to find a solution, not make statements that won’t possibly be done,” Stenner said.

Matt presented the Council with a petition signed by 29 residents of 12th Street during the Sept. 9 meeting. All would prefer heavy truck traffic be re-routed elsewhere.

“It is not like we are attacking the company or nothing, it is everybody else too,” he said. “There is a lot of traffic on that street.”

As employees of Jeff’s Trucking of Wisconsin, the Rutkowskis know firsthand the heavy truck traffic on 12th Street.

“I don’t think you are aware of what that street is bearing,” Gerald said. “Iowa County, its truck. All of Grant County and some of the cities. Platteville. I think we gotten a Cuba City truck up here.

“I have seen a truck or two or more from Crawford County. The frequency is so bad at some times ... and you couple that with the noise, and the kind of noise, it is everything under the sun.”

Kauffman told the Committee the dust is a habitual problem for 12th Street homeowners.

“You can’t keep it clean, on the outside or the inside,” he said. “I don’t mean to bellyache, but we have a bit of a problem.

“We have always had it, but nobody ever straightened it out. We have come to these meetings before.”

City Clerk/Treasurer Margaret Sprague contacted a representative of Milestone, who often utilizes the quarry, but no one from the company attended Monday evening’s meeting.

“It shows how much they care,” Matt said. “If they really, truly cared they would be sitting in that chair right now.
“They don’t really care.”

Director of Public Works Dennis Biddick asked those in attendance if limiting heavy truck traffic to the hours of 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. would alleviate any issues.

“I don’t think that would help a bit,” Kauffman said.

The installation of additional stop signs on 12th Street to deter heavy truck traffic was briefly discussed, but Stenner mentioned the addition of stop signs is easier said than done.

The consensus of the Committee was to delay action until Stenner could speak with a representative of Milestone.

The Committee will discuss the matter again on Oct. 14 at 6 p.m. Residents of 12th Street and other interested parties are encouraged to attend.