SULPHUR, LA (KPLC) - It seems heavy truck traffic has been an issue in some Sulphur neighborhoods for quite some time. One Sulphur councilwoman, Mandy Thomas, said it’s gotten worse since the start of I-210 construction.
There are “no thru trucks” signs on Maplewood Drive, but that doesn’t stop some commercial trucks from passing through, according to Thomas.
“When you stop and talk to someone about it in our area, they’re like, ‘oh yeah! I see them all the time.’ So, it’s become the norm, and that’s not the way it should be," Thomas said.
The council passed a new ordinance this week, raising the fines for those trucks who ignore the signs. The primary goal, Thomas said, is safety.
“We have a lot of kids in those areas, we have a school right there on Maplewood Drive, we have parks. So, you have kids walking and riding their bikes to the park—to school. If you drive down our streets, they’re narrow streets. A lot of these streets don’t have sidewalks, so the children have no choice but to be on the street. It’s a huge safety concern for me," Thomas said.
Justin Caldwell, whose daughter goes to Maplewood Elementary School, said he’s noticed an increase in these trucks in the area since 210 construction started.
“They know better. They’re not supposed to come down this road, and they do it anyway because they know the shortcuts," Caldwell said.
Before the move, fines ranged from $100 to $500. Now, the minimum fine is $500 for a first offense, $750 for the second and $1,000 is the maximum fine.
“Our hope is that by increasing it to the amount we did, it will get people’s attention," Thomas said.
Thomas said those commercial trucks who actually have business in the area are exempt from these fines; they’re targeted for those who are using the neighborhood as a shortcut to avoid traffic.