ANNAPOLIS — The Frederick County delegation to the General Assembly wants truckers who fail to obey the height limit signs on Md. 75 near Monrovia to lose more than just time. They want cold, hard cash, too.

The delegation voted Friday morning to submit a bill to fine truckers up to $10,000 for failing to heed warnings to turn back from the stretch of Md. 75 between Baldwin Road and Md. 80.

Lawmakers expressed exasperation at the number of trucks that get stuck under the 12-foot-6-inch CSX rail bridge on the road.

The State Highway Administration has responded to the area more than 200 times to help trucks that are stuck underneath the bridge or need to turn around since 2010, when a Costco warehouse opened nearby.

The stuck trucks have prompted SHA to spend $300,000 installing large signs, flashing lights and sensors to deter oversized trucks from taking the route.

While that’s slowed the calls, they are far from over, said County Executive Jan Gardner, who was at the delegation’s weekly meeting in Annapolis on Friday.

“They straight up drive through all these signs, and then run into this thing,” said Sen. Michael Hough, R-District 4. “At this point, we’re at [our] wits’ end.”

Hough said he’s frequently heard from frustrated residents and businesses near the bridge who are stuck in traffic, losing time and money because of backups.

“We need to do something,” Hough said. “If one or two of those trucks get that fine, maybe the trucking companies will finally pay attention.”

Gardner said it’s a burden for the Maryland State Police to continue responding to the road for traffic control.

On the north side of the bridge, there is no good place to turn around, so truckers use driveways to turn around and tear up people’s yards, Gardner said. On the south side, it’s a bit easier to turn around, and improvements near Ed McClain Road could make it easier in the future.

Gardner said the county is working to install turnarounds for trucks that start out on the route before realizing the bridge is ahead. Costco has given $150,000, and SHA has identified a space to construct a turnaround on the north side.

It would be about a year before construction of that turnaround is complete, Gardner said.

Conversations about improvement on the south side are continuing, she said.

Seven members of the delegation supported the bill. Delegate William Folden abstained, after his questions expressed misgivings over the legislation.

The proposed legislation will be introduced to the General Assembly as a delegation bill.

Follow Danielle E. Gaines on Twitter: @danielleegaines.

Danielle E. Gaines covers politics and government in Frederick County, splitting her time between Winchester Hall and The State House. Having grown up in Illinois, she lived in New York and California before settling in Maryland.

(67) comments

Jleftwich

Glad to see our state delegates taking the bill by the horns and putting forth this measure.

Our local council members (Shreve and Chmelik) only seem interested in passing the buck when the county exec told them their idea of contacting GPS manufacturers to include the low-height bridge in their updates was a good one and to "go for it".

They had an opportunity for leadership, and blew it.

JG4476

For starters, I not only drive the road on a routine basis, but also live on it. While more signage may or may not help, the problem lies with the truckers, whoever is managing them, or the routes they are given. Not only are there multiple signs, but there are hanging weights that literally slam into the roof of your truck if you are over the height limit. Granted, this is when approaching from My Airy, but that is where most of these incidents occur.

Everyone on here defending the truckers hasn't had to deal with them cussing out you and your family members as they stop traffic both ways, and tear up your property. There is nothing inherantly noble, or honorable about hauling freight, and it does not make you immune to criticism. We don't fault anyone else if someone runs a stop sign, or red light, why should this be any different? The signs are plainly visible, the truckers just choose not to pay attention to them. This claim is supported by all of the non idiotic ones who don't slam into a bridge, knock mailboxes and fences over, or tear up lawns. It's no one elses fault that they didn't get enough sleep, or werent 100% committed to maneuvering a gigantic metal behemoth safely.

b1sellers

Why do people think these truck drivers are doing this on purpose? Why would they put themselves and their equipment in that position on purpose? Obviously the signage is inadequate. Do any of you saying that this fine is "great" and "about time" even know a truck driver? Truck drivers are not the problem here. Oh, and the next time you use almost anything, thank that truck driver that got it to the store for you.

hallemd

I drove over that way earlier this year and the signs and hanging notices, etc. are way more than adequate. You'd have to be blind not to notice them and then to keep going makes you just plain stupid. I agree that these fines will make a real difference and "smarten" up a few folks at the same time.

KellyAlzan

are you sure you were on the right road?? here is a youtube video of that road. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L71NgmfaeoA&feature=youtu.be

JG4476

How much signage is necessary? Are hanging weights, and multiple road signs not enough? Do we need to start having 3 consecutice stop signs to stop the valiant and courageous truckers from killing a family of 4 by plowing over them in an intersection?

JG4476

*consecutive

KellyAlzan

I have been out to the bridge and I have specifically looked at the road under the bridge. I have looked at the grades (in terms of drainage).

I did not stop and get out of my vehicle.

I slowed way down and observed while driving.

I, in my own opinion, based on my quick observation, believe that the road elevation under the bridge CAN be lowered by 4-inches or so. It appears to me that if the road is cut lower, water can still drain appropriately.

People like Gardner and Hough are hell bent on blaming the truckers. So they say "we don't need to change the road, we need the drivers to stop trying to sneak under the bridge.

No. That's not the problem Mrs Gardner and Mr Hough.

The probem is the signage is inadequate.

Please. PLEASE. PLEASE HAVE A TRUCK DRIVER RIDE WITH YOU IN A CAR AND EXPLAIN HIS WORLD.

Kirbie Delaughter owns tractor trailers with lowboy trailers. Ask Kirby to allow some law makers to ride in one of his trucks with a lowboy trailer and get a feel for the situation.

stevemckay

Kelly - there's no need to point fingers at CE Gardner or Michael Hough on this one. This was an idea brought to the Delegation by residents in the area here who are simply fed up with the problem and I'm glad they're supporting it.

As stated below, I see higher fines as part of a three-part strategy.

Personally, I'm not qualified to assess the drainage issue - I only know that I've heard from others that I believe are qualified, and they don't agree with you. Lastly, even if the road were lowered, the hard turn on the south side makes any semi-trailer navigating through there a hazard to other traffic.

KellyAlzan

that's all great steve.

you do very will with county legal issues.

the problem here is a problem that doesn't have to be. Meaning, that properly placing signs is the first step. the 2nd step is (2) truck turn arounds.

The residents there can have all the meetings they want.

If they're sick of the problem as you claim they are, then listen to me. A fine isn't gonna stop you and your neighbors from being held up getting to work. The problem will still occur. and then all your meetings will be nothing but wasted time.

If you want this problem fixed - then listen to what I'm saying,

KellyAlzan

and yes steve,

I can and will point fingers at Gardner and hough.

they are supporting something that's NOT a solution. They have never even driven out there. Until they are well educated and well informed they should refrain from discussing action.

Sorry Steve. I supported Jan all the way during the election. For her to discuss things and make comments to the FNP about an issue she doesn't understand is not helping anyone

FrederickFan

Wow, you are very misinformed. Route 75 is a State Road. It falls under the control of the State of Maryland and our Delegation not Frederick County or our County Executive.

Because it exists in Frederick County, CE Gardner is trying to find a solution. I agree with Mr. McKay. And I don't see CE Gardner blaming anyone. Neither the State or the Railroad have several $ million laying around ready to build a bridge. CE Gardner is accountable to the taxpayers of Frederick County to find an economical solution. You may want your taxes raised to pay for a solution, but most people don't. Most people think those getting stuck should be the first ones accountable for solving the problem. How do you know CE Gardner has never driven under the bridge? Its great to be angry, but your comments are offensive. There is a sign with flashing lights on it, a "height restricted" sign, and the bar under the the bridge that hits the trailer when its too high.

I like the idea of a fine as part of the solution. But from what I can tell, this bill and the $10,000 fine appear to have been authored by the delegation, not CE Gardner.

KellyAlzan

you should read my comments before posting to me, I pretty much covered all the bases. and you need to watch the youtube video of rt 75. hope you're warm and safe :)

JG4476

As a local resident, lowering the road 4 inches would do little to help. Last year a truck sheared a foot and a half off of the top of its trailer as it wedged itself under the bridge.

The truckers just need to be vetted better than "My name is Cletus and I like driving trucks", and need to be held to some sort of standard.

KellyAlzan

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L71NgmfaeoA&feature=youtu.be

KellyAlzan

Here is the video I made coming from Rout 355.

I shot the video while I drove. The video is blurry. And shakey. I am not a professional video person.

I do think the video is compelling. It shoes inadequate posting of signs announcing a low bridge.

You will see that the first sign IS NOT until you get to the post office. I mean, what the - - - -????? Who was the bird brain that put the FIRST warning sign after all that distance with NO WHERE to turn around, or even pull off???
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L71NgmfaeoA&feature=youtu.be The Video is about 4.5 min long

gary4books

Looking at the bridge one can see heavy beams to support it and they are the lowest points along the path under it. A suspension sort of a bridge would be much higher at the bottom. How much would it cost? How much would it cost to lower the road under a foot or so? There has got to be a solution that does not require signs or driver participation.

stevemckay

We have heard in the past that there isn't much likelihood of rebuilding the bridge in that location. There has also been much discussion of digging out the bottom as you suggest, but that raises serious drainage issues that would then need to be dealt with. Regardless of how the height issue is dealt with, what you can't resolve is the fact that a full size tractor trailer trying to go under the bridge will still turn this two-lane road into a one-lane road because of the turning angle on the south side. So let's say they somehow deal with the height issue and trucks start using it with impunity - we would then have an even greater collision hazard to deal with.

hayduke2

Exactly right Steve.... The approach and exit of this railroad bridge is not straight and would surely result in injury or worse. I currently cringe when I meet a box truck or even large SUV under the bridge.

PlayingAlong

It’s ridiculous to think the signs are internationally disobeyed as if the truckers believe they might get away with squeezing a 13 foot tall trailer under a 12 foot bridge. The morons behind the ineffective signage and misleading warning devices should be fined. Overheight means over 13'6" to a trucker and to the DOT. It is totally ineffective to warn of a 12 foot bridge by using the term "overheight". A sign with a width and length restriction is equally ineffective to warn of a low bridge. The nearly invisible and mostly missing hanging candy canes obviously don't work because trucks that DO fit under the bridge tear them down faster than they are put up.

gary4books

Has anyone let the air out of their tires to see if they could get under?

stevemckay

That may be an option for the cases where a truck has stopped traffic right at the bridge, but certainly isn't a real solution to the problem.

KellyAlzan

Doesn't work that way with truck and equipment tires. When big tires lose air, they de-bead. Meaning they come off the rims.

Fredmd21704

fine them $100,000, then use that money to lower the road a few feet.

gary4books

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup][thumbup][thumbup][thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

KellyAlzan

50 grand, 30 grand, 100 grand.

A driver with no money is a driver with no money.

Heck, fine them 25 grand, and it wont be paid. Money doesn't fall from the sky. A driver may send in $30.00 per month. But what does that do?

KellyAlzan

This is stupid, fines are AFTER THE FACT.

Hough believes that the drivers are being rogue. Not the case at all.

Fredmd21704

and you know this because? hitting them hard in the pocket does in fact work and it isn't stupid, or do you feel people getting speeding tickets AFTER THE FACT is stupid too?

KellyAlzan

Speeding tickets and tearing the roof off the trailer are not apples to apples.

After a driver tears the trailer's roof off, and or bends his stacks - he ain't doing it ever again. Guaranteed.

Speeding - you pay the fine and life goes on. There is nothing stopping you from doing it again.

petersamuel

This is stupid. Truckers already suffer when they get stuck under this aweful old bridge. Their truck suffers damage. They lose time. And everyone gets mad at them. No good will come from having the state pile on with fines. A constructive move by our delegates would be to get a new railroad bridge built to the east relocating MD75, eliminating the old dog-leg routing as well as closing the obsolete bridge. Rather than these silly fines for accidents at bridges our delegates should push for a railroad bridge improvement program, the costs shared between trucking and the railroads.

stevemckay

Sorry, but no. The alternative solution of rebuilding MD 75 to the east, including bridging over the creek and the CSX line is part of either a $260M or $500M project, paid for by your and my tax dollars. The State has been saying "no" for years. The vaunted developer fees, despite all the major developments approved by the Young BoCC in this area, amount to a pittance compared to the total cost.

But let's say that they decide to spend the money anyway. In addition to it coming from our taxes, there will be land seized all along the road by eminent domain to enable the widening. And when they're done, we'll have a new truck bypass on the east side of Frederick from I70 to I270 with no truck restrictions. People living along that road now will have their lives forever changed. Personally, I want no part of that for this area.

hayduke2

And, imagine what the rebuilding of Rt. 75 and adding truck traffic would do to the 75 and 355 intersection to say nothing of the bottleneck in Hyattstown....

stevemckay

Everybody likes to forget about 75 and 355, as you and I both know. Anytime we consider spending hundreds of millions to fix the problems on MD 75, we have to add another few hundred million for the new MD 75 interchange with I270, as part of the project that probably won't happen in my lifetime. Because when people forget about the bottleneck at the end of 75, they are over-looking a huge problem that is getting worse with every new home built.

DickD

You are right about the need to relocate and they could do it cheaply if they just put in a light that tells you a train is coming and make it a grade level crossing, adding an automatic bar to raise and lower when a train is coming.

stevemckay

Dick - I suppose they could do a grade-level crossing if they bought out the little industrial park at Howard Payne's office, plus the AG land just north, but I don't know if that's an option under consideration. Personally, I haven't considered that idea and don't know if its viable.

KellyAlzan

with the home construction coming since jan backed out of fighting that developer, somthings gonna have to be done. and buying the adjoining properties is the reality.

Anyone remember Irving's gas station at the corner of 194 and 26?

stevemckay

The MTC fight is far from done

KellyAlzan

steve, I appreciate all your efforts against MTC. thank you!

stevemckay

Thank you KellyAlzan, and I appreciate the support that you've consistently shown here on the issues.

KellyAlzan

Also, I doubt a $10k fine would ever pass the general assembly.

That's higher than the fine for causing an accident while texting.

The judges would most likely not even enforce the $10k.

KellyAlzan

I do have a video of the road, and I even show the signs (all width and length). The video is 5 minutes long, and youtube said it will take 1 hr to upload! So I'm trying to figure out how to shorten it so I can post a link here. I also want to email Hough and Gardner, they need to see this video. I guarantee you that neither of them have driven that road from 355 to Monrovia. guarantee they have not.

DickD

About time and because of the cost to others, $10,000 is reasonable.

rl0802

For all the money that has been spent trying to deter truckers from getting stuck here, couldn't the county just replace the bridge or dig out the road surface by a foot or 2 under the bridge so that the trucks wouldn't get stuck?

bmclearen

So, put up signs and increase the fine to $50K

DickD

[thumbup]

Caladelind

Yes, I had called in to WFMD when Tim was talking about this. I said the same thing. There is nothing that indicates the HIEGHT issue until your at the bridge! Even traveling South on 75 the last sign warning to trucks where 75 turns to the left the sign does NOT say anything about the height, FIX the signage FIRST.

shiftless88

What is funny is that there USED to be height restriction signs and they were changed for width

KellyAlzan

There is a height warning sign near where 75 crosses over I-70.

But the problem is, its in an area where a truck driver is more focused on traffic than looking for signs. Reality is - there are times where truck drivers DO need to pay attention to the road and are not able to notice signs.

There is a height warning sign, with the pipes, etc on 75 AFTER you make the turn. Again, its after you make the turn. So if the drivers do see the signs, it's too late, they're already on that portion of the road.

The signs need posted intelligently. Perhaps have some truck drivers assist with locating the placement of signs. Having a highway engineer that sits behind a desk spec where to place the signs is not the way to go; its obvious.

KellyAlzan

Also, its important to note that the majority of the trucks getting stuck are driving NORTH on 75. NORTH. N-O-R-T-H The direction that has NO height warning signs (until you get to the church, which then its too late)

DickD

It is never too late to stop.

hayduke2

Some trucks do approach while driving north on 75 but it is definitely not the majority. As a resident of the area, this has not been my observation or experience. Those approaching from the south heading north often are directed onto Ed McClain, which is another inadequate road but that is another story.

KellyAlzan

the fnp commentor who works in an office next to the bridge stated that most of the stuck trucks are driving northbound. he stated that it is he who usually goes out and helps the trucks back up. he's right there, he sees it.

hayduke2

So am I right there so I wii respectfully disagree with your one source.

JG4476

I live right next to the bridge, and can only recall a couple times when a truck got stuck coming towards My Airy, it is almost always from that direction. Your source is wrong.

KellyAlzan

Quote:
"The Frederick County delegation to the General Assembly wants truckers who fail to obey the height limit signs on Md. 75 near Monrovia to lose more than just time."

Response:
There are NO signs from Rt 355 on Rt 75 North.

I REPEAT: THERE ARE NO SIGNS ON RT 75 NORTH FROM RT 355, until you get to the church. And at that point THERE IS NO WHERE TO TURN AROUND.

I have the entire Rt 75 north, up to Monrovia on VIDEO to prove this.

How can you BLAME the drivers when there ARE NO SIGNS???? HOW?

And since the first sign is NOT until the church, a point were there's no where for them to turn around - what in the world is the truck supposed to do???

shaking my head......

shiftless88

I agree, but if the truck does see the signs they are still better off trying to get turned around than going forward and getting stuck for sure.

KellyAlzan

That goes without saying.

Fact is - THERE'S NO WHERE TO TURN AROUND! And this ain't no back road where 3 cars may pass through there per hour. You can't *just back up* when theres a steady stream of traffic behind you.

DickD

I have never seen a bridge without a height limit posted. If a driver still goes under, knowing he will hit the bridge, he is just plain stupid.

KellyAlzan

Dick, its probably best of you drive north on 75 and see whats going on before commenting.

I do have a video of the road, and I even show the signs (all width and length).

The video is 5 minutes long, and youtube said it will take 1 hr to upload! So I'm trying to figure out how to shorten it so I can post a link here.

I also want to email Hough and Gardner, they need to see this video. I guarantee you that neither of them have driven that road from 355 to Monrovia. guarantee they have not.

gary4books

Do not make it shorter, compress the video with JPEG or some other compression process. I expect the one hour estimate was for DSL and most download much faster.

DickD

I never use that road, so you are right. It does make me wonder why the signage isn't better.

KellyAlzan

commenting on something you know nothing about is plain stupid.......

Fredmd21704

someone could tell you the same.

KellyAlzan

DUH!

LOL - you're brilliant!!!

But for this FNP news story......I DO KNOW WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT :)

stevemckay

We need a three part strategy to deal with the problem: (1) better signage, (2) truck turn-arounds (in progress, supposedly, but I don't know where they'll put it on the north side of the bridge), and (3) higher fines to put some teeth behind the restrictions. No single strategy is enough.

Some people question the higher fines. Did you know that you can be fined up $30,000 for littering along Weller Rd only a quarter mile from the bridge? That was eye opening to Delegates who questioned the idea of higher fines. Do you want to know where the idea of these higher fines came from? A trucker. The $500 fine didn't move the needle for him - higher fines will. Do you know who supports the idea? People who live here. People who's property are damaged as a daily occurrence. People who routinely walk out of their houses along 75 and go out in the middle of the night to help manage traffic and help turn trucks around.

By all means, we can use a more signs clarifying the height restriction but we also need some teeth behind the restriction for those that ignore the signs, or who think they can still clear the bridge (but don't). Personally, I think the fine should be "up to" $10,000 and that should be reserved for those that actually impact the bridge, at the discretion of the police officer or judge.

KellyAlzan

You need to realize something Steve.

I don't care how much a littering fine is.

I don't care who came up with the idea for a stiff fine. I don't care if it was my own father who came up with that idea.

Littering is something we choose to do. The roads are there for traversing. So we use them. Billions of miles of roads in thee country.

There is a psychology to this. PUT THE SIGNS WHERE DRIVERS WILL SEE THEM. IF THATS NOT POSSIBLE, THEN THEY NEED A TURN AROUND SPOT AND OR A STOPPING SPOT. AFTER they are given places to turn around - and they continue to get stuck - then FINE THEM. BUT FIRST THE STATE NEEDS TO GET THEIR ACT TOGETHER AND FIX THEIR STUPIDITY.


If I received a fine as proposed. And I go to court. With my financials prepared by a CPA. And I tell the judge I don't have that kind of money. The judge will most likely drop the fine down to $500.00. Or $1000.00.

Again, the fine is AFTER THE FACT.

The fact of getting the blasted truck stuck will ensure that driver NEVER does it again. You can go as far and pay the driver $1000 for him getting the truck stuck and he will still NEVER DO IT AGAIN.

The fine is after the FACT. The commuters will still be late for work. Someone will have to come get the truck out. AFTER THE FACT. A-F-T-E-R-T-H-E-F-A-C-T.


stevemckay

I understand that levying a fine is after the fact. Posting warnings and restrictions, including the fines for those that don't heed the restrictions, is also a deterrent before the fact. I don't disagree with you about improving the signage. I just don't think it's enough to solve the problem.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it clean. No vulgar, racist, sexist or sexually-oriented language.
Engage ideas. This forum is for the exchange of ideas, not personal attacks or ad hominem criticisms.
TURN OFF CAPS LOCK.
Be civil. Don't threaten. Don't lie. Don't bait. Don't degrade others.
No trolling. Stay on topic.
No spamming. This is not the place to sell miracle cures.
No deceptive names. Apparently misleading usernames are not allowed.
Say it once. No repetitive posts, please.
Help us. Use the 'Report' link for abusive posts.

Thank you for reading!

Already a member?

Login Now
Click Here!

Currently a News-Post subscriber?

Activate your membership at no additional charge.
Click Here!

Need more information?

Learn about the benefits of membership.
Click Here!

Ready to join?

Choose the membership plan that fits your needs.
Click Here!