CHP NET SNARES TRUCKERS BIG RIGS BYPASS I-5 WEIGH STATION, STUDY FINDS.
SANTA CLARITA - More than 70 big-rig trucks, some with safety violations, traveled down a small stretch of road in the Valencia Industrial Center on Thursday, bypassing a freeway inspection station, a California Highway Patrol study found.
From 7:30 to 10:30 a.m, officers with a CHP task force counted 72 trucks driving up Avenue Stanford to state Highway 126 instead of using the Golden Valley Freeway, officials said.
Several drivers were cited because their loads were overweight; others were forced to make minor repairs before they hit the road again - routine practices conducted at the weigh station, said Sgt. Dwight McDonald.
``We wanted to make sure the trucks going on the 126 were safe,'' McDonald said. ``It does tell me that there are a lot of trucks going through the city. The big concern is safety.''
The survey refutes a recent city study that determined trucks weren't using the route to bypass the inspection station and that all trucks the city officials noted had stayed in the business park for more than 20 minutes.
The Highway Patrol's survey garnered significant results, city officials said Friday.
``We should get together and go back and do a survey together,'' said Andrew Yi, a city traffic engineer. ``We'll go back and look at it again and see the true impact of that.''
Officers inspected 41 trucks Thursday, asking drivers their purpose in using Avenue Stanford, McDonald said. Of those trucks stopped, 16 drivers said they were in the industrial center for business but only four had documentation to support that statement.
Other drivers said they had been told to use Avenue Stanford instead of the I-5 because it was a quicker route through town, which adds 24 trucks an hour to Santa Clarita's already crowded streets, Dwight said.
The CHP conducts these random surveys throughout the state and county and says it will continue to do them in the future.
``The city has made the determination that the signs aren't warranted and we are just going to continue to do our job,'' McDonald said.
In January, the city removed a sign that restricted trucks weighing more than seven tons from using the road, but afterward truck drivers approached the city asking about evidence or data to support posting of the sign.
According to the state engineering guidelines, a study or data must show why a sign or traffic signal is needed before one is installed, officials said. The sign had been posted by the county, before the city incorporated, so truckers would not bypass the weigh station.
With no proof that trucks used the route to bypass the station, the city had refused - despite CHP objections - to post signs prohibiting semitrailers from using the road.
(ran in SAC edition only) CHP Commercial Enforcement Officer Lou Parada fills out a safety check form in Santa Clarita.
John Lazar/Staff Photographer