Dump truck traffic is a fact of life in Southwest Louisiana in the midst of the current industrial expansion
On Burton Shipyard Road, resident Josh Herman said dump trucks have been running up and down the road more than a year.
"A steady flow of dump trucks through here - I mean it sometimes starts at six o'clock in the morning. I've seen dump trucks run as late as 1:30 in the morning. Constant noise. It's normally a peaceful neighborhood. Now my wife doesn't even like going down the road to bring the kids to school because there are so many dump trucks," said Herman.
A couple of weeks ago, he shot photos of one that ran into the ditch.
The trucks are coming from 5-S Aggregate, where they pick up loads of gravel and haul them to Cameron LNG. Herman said he's complained about excessive speeds, but that the problem continues.
"Speeding, littering - they're bigger trucks. I guess they feel like they have more of the road. My wife's pulled off the side of the road because they ride the line or are over the line at times," he said.
Herman fears for the safety of his wife and three young children. He's drawn a red line on the driveway and has warned his kids not to go past that line.
Calcasieu sheriff's deputies said they went out to Burton Shipyard Road twice in November and twice in December, but will go back out to monitor the situation. Sheriff's office spokeswoman Kim Myers said they do respond to the complaints and that sheriff's cars and deputies are equipped with radar. Anyone with a concern may call the sheriff's office at 491-3605.
Troop D State Police spokesman Sgt. James Anderson said they have received complaints in other areas too.
“The economic boom we are enjoying has resulted in an increase in traffic and traffic-related issues. We have received complaints of an increase in unsafe driving practices, including speeding dump trucks in other parts of the Troop D area as well,” said Anderson.
"While we have concurrent jurisdiction with local police departments and sheriff’s offices on local streets and parish roads, we typically concentrate our enforcement efforts on state and federal highways. In the Carlyss area, we have received complaints of vehicles driving in an unsafe manner including speeding, passing on the shoulder, and pulling out in front of other traffic. We have stepped up our enforcement on state highways in the area, including La. 27, La. 108, and La. 1133. In the meantime, we have received traffic-related complaints from different parts of the troop area and are working to address those concerns as well,” Anderson said.
He said the sheriff's office has primary jurisdiction over parish roads, so Herman should call and request additional enforcement. For issues on state roads, people can call the Troop D desk at 491-2511.
“In the meantime, making a video recording of traffic on the road might dissuade drivers from operating their vehicles in an unsafe manner,” said Anderson.
5-S Aggregate Attorney Jason Bonaventure said the trucks are third party contractors. He said they welcome complaints and do take them seriously.
Bonaventure said the presence of the trucks is a result of industry development. But he said they have a strict policy against speeding and also install GPS devices on all trucks, which allow the company to monitor speed and routes.
He said if they notice a chronic problem with a particular driver, they will tell the hauler that driver is not allowed to haul for them any longer.
“We will - and have - terminated contractors for speeding or accidents,” said Bonaventure. “And also require them to pass drug tests.”
He suggested residents with complaints try to pinpoint the time and color of the truck, which he said will help them get to the bottom of any problem.
Rather than attempting to talk to a truck driver, Bonaventure said “the best way to curb the problem is to contact the company directly rather than the haulers. Otherwise, the company may not be aware of the problem.”
Residents may call Bonaventure at 225-749-5867, or the company’s office in Sulphur at 337-888-3032. He said to ask for the safety officer.
Though there was a truck that ran off the road and into the ditch recently, Bonaventure said that was due to the deterioration of the road, which he said is very old.
Parish officials usually attribute such deterioration to heavy truck traffic.
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