BRAWLEY – Citizens of Brawley, users of Forrester Road, and Brawley downtown merchants were promised less truck traffic congestion once the Brawley Bypass was operational. The County Board of Supervisors has heard an earful that those promises are yet to be delivered.
Supervisor Mike Kelley was given a tour of Forrester Road and said, “It is congested with big, semi-trucks, these trucks continue to use Forrester and it is a dangerous road to drive.”
Several reasons for the lack of truck usage on the new bypass is that the new option has yet to make it onto the GPS systems the truckers use.
Supervisor Ryan Kelley said that CalTrans has attempted to work with the GPS companies but have been unsuccessful.
Another issue is the signs and the lack of signage. The sign that is up by the bypass exit doesn’t include Highway 78. Truckers don’t know that the bypass offers a connection to 78, and they don’t use the road afraid of missing their designated route.
Also the sign comes after Forrester, so truckers aren’t aware of the new route and turn off on Forrester to make their next highway connection.
Ryan Kelley went on to say that CalTrans plans on having a traffic study in the next few weeks on the bypass and the old alternate routes to see exactly what patterns the truckers use.
Public Works Director William Brunet, explained that in the parlance of transportation semi-trucks are divided into two categories, federal trucks and non- federal trucks. Federal trucks are 80 feet in length and the non-federal trucks measure 65 feet. To travel on interstate highways, the federal truck has no problem. It is when they get off the federally funded roads that they must stay on secondary county roads that are labeled terminal routes. Terminal routes post a sign showing a duelly with a T inside it. Forrester is not a terminal road. Federal trucks are not allowed on it. The CHP will ticket federal trucks driving on it. Between the two, only 65‘ trucks are allowed on Forester. Brunet said that the truckers know that because the terminal routes are published.
Until new signs are made, and who has the jurisdiction and the financial ability to pay for the cost are worked out, and the GPS companies key in the new route, the utilization of the new bypass is diminished.