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Sullivan City weighs ordinance to regulate tractor-trailers

Concerned that heavy trucks are damaging city streets, Sullivan City plans to restrict tractor-trailers and other commercial vehicles to major roads.

During a meeting on Monday, the Sullivan City Council approved the first reading of an ordinance that would ban trucks that weigh more than 10,000 pounds from residential streets.

Sullivan City, however, may allow truckers who register with the city to park at home.

“It’s nothing bad,” said Mayor Alma Salinas. “It’s just that we need to make sure that we take care of our streets.”

The proposed ordinance would ban vehicles that weigh more than 10,000 pounds from residential streets. Vehicles that weigh more than 26,000 pounds would be required to use designated truck routes.

Sullivan City designated just two roads — U.S. 83 and Tablero Road — as truck routes.

The proposed ordinance includes exceptions for delivery trucks, emergency vehicles and garbage collection. Sullivan City also created an exception designed to protect truckers who park at home.

The proposed ordinance would allow them to park on residential streets after registering with the city.

Any person who fails to comply with the ordinance could be fined up to $500 per day.

Mission, Palmview and Peñitas already restrict commercial vehicles to certain roads.

Sullivan City modeled the proposed ordinance on regulations approved by Peñitas in June 2020.

“The ordinance is, obviously, to protect the citizens’ interest, which is the roads,” said Peñitas Mayor Rodrigo “Rigo” Lopez. “But you also got to look at the residents who are truck drivers, who also have an interest in the roads.”

Many people in rural parts of Hidalgo County purchased big lots to park tractor-trailers, Lopez said, before they were annexed by a city. Residential streets, however, simply aren’t designed to handle trucks.

Peñitas attempted to strike a balance by designating certain roads as truck routes and creating a process for truckers to register their vehicles.

“It’s just a matter of working with your community and your citizens,” Lopez said.

City Secretary Yenni Espinoza said 41 people had submitted applications to register vehicles since Peñitas adopted the ordinance. Peñitas asks the owner and driver for basic information but doesn’t charge a registration fee.

The Sullivan City Council started discussing a similar ordinance after becoming concerned about damage to El Faro Road, El Pinto Road and the Woodland Heights subdivision, among other streets.

Sullivan City Manager Ana Mercado said she frequently hears from residents concerned about damaged roads.

“On Facebook. In person. Over the phone. By email,” Mercado said, adding that she hears from people almost every day.

Sullivan City plans to hold a public hearing on the proposed ordinance Dec. 13.

The Sullivan City Council may tweak the proposed ordinance after the public hearing. The third and final reading could take place in late December or early January.

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