Sparta bans heavy trucks from two more township roads

Sparta. Mayor Christine Quinn said the public supports the ordinance, which would ban trucks heavier than four tons on Fiddlers Way and McCloud Lane.

Sparta /
| 14 Oct 2021 | 03:30

Heavy trucks are now banned on two more Sparta Township roads. A current ban on a third road will continue — even though it is unenforceable because of businesses on neighboring roads.

The township council on Sept. 28 unanimously passed an ordinance banning trucks heavier than four tons on Fiddlers Way and McCloud Lane, while maintaining the current ban on White Lake Road.

Councilman Joshua Hertzberg was absent.

Mayor Christine Quinn said the council received emails from the public supporting the new ordinance.

The original draft of the ordinance ended the four-ton truck ban on White Lake Road. But Councilman Dan Chiariello expressed concern about truck traffic on the road, which runs past an athletic field, Camp Sacajawea, and the Sussex County technical and vocational schools at the intersection with Route 94.

“If you’ve ever been there while kids are between classes, there are people all over the road,” Chiariello said. “I couldn’t in good conscience have that deleted from the ordinance.”

Chiariello also expressed concern that trucks would use White Lake Road as a shortcut between Routes 94 and 15.

“We can’t have 18-wheelers running down there at 40 miles per hour,” Chiariello said.

The enforcement problem

The acting township manager, Neil Spidaletto, said keeping the ban on White Lake Road would affect businesses on Park Lake Road and Aaron Way. The only access to both those roads is off White Lake.

Also, he said, the signs posting the weight limits are gone.

One suggestion was to put up a sign instructing trucks to turn left on White Lake Road from Aaron Way and Park Lake Road toward Route 515. But without an ordinance to back it up, there is no way to enforce it.

“Any restrictive sign must have an empowering ordinance,” said township attorney Tom Ryan.

Councilwoman Molly Whilesmith said the signs were pointless without the ordinance. Spidaletto said the township would have to park a police officer there 24/7, pulling over every truck that disregarded the traffic signs.

“We don’t have the resources to put the officers out there,” Spidaletto said.

While the White Lake Road situation was going to take more effort, no one on the council wanted to hold up the bans on Fiddler’s Way and McCloud Lane.

The council unanimously agreed take White Lake Road out of the ordinance and approve the ban on the two residential roads.

“We can’t have 18 wheelers running down there at 40 miles per hour.” Councilman Dan Chiariello