Smaller Jacksonville roads could become off-limits for semitrucks

City Council considering map designating streets truckers can, can't drive on

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville City Council is looking into making truckers a map designating places they can and can't travel, as the city has received complaints about 18-wheelers driving in residential areas and causing traffic problems. 

Semitrucks can currently travel wherever they want, including tiny back roads in neighborhoods and state roads such as J. Turner Butler Boulevard, but the City Council may change come Jan. 1. 

"Gate Parkway in District 12 has been an area of concern, Baymeadows (Road) East," said City Councilman Danny Becton. 

Becton told News4Jax on Friday that areas all over Jacksonville are being looked at for an official trucking route. 

Nothing is official yet, Becton said, but smaller city roads are intended to be made off limits.

"The obvious ones are the neighborhood roads, the one probably in front of your house or apartment," Becton said. "Let me give you an example of a preferred and retired trucking route. Behind me is Atlantic Boulevard. This would be permitted to drive (on) by semitrucks. But on Old Hickory Road off in the St. Nicholas neighborhood, this would be restricted. Trucks could not use this as a cut through. So keeping the big trucks out of the neighborhoods."

News4Jax spoke to drivers who see both sides of the issues.

"It certainly makes sense in terms of the 18-wheelers," driver Thoren Pergen said. "That would certainly cut down on traffic."

Driver Damon Harrington said he believes 18-wheelers should be allowed to cut through neighborhoods.

"I know it messes the roads up a little bit, but they have families to get home to. Everybody is out here working," he said. "You never know. They may have something to do at the end of that day and the rerouting -- you never know."

The map is still in the works. Becton said every city council member is reviewing the map and deciding which roads should be preferred routes or should be considered restricted. 

If it passes, there would be a $100 fine if a truck driver travels on a road considered restricted.

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