Mining trucks should stay off Marquette streets

About 4 1/2 years ago, I was on the Marquette City Commission. We then made a half try at a truck ordinance aimed at trucks, e.g. logging trucks and other industrial trucks, not to come through Marquette as a short out to Escanaba or west to Sagola, Iron Mountain, etc.

What we achieved was an ordinance to not allow Blondeau Trucking to haul limestone from the Shiras power plant across U.S. 41 to Genesee Street onto Division and out to M-553 and west and return.

Blondeau sought relief in the courts and the judgment by Judge Thomas Solka was that Marquette could ban Blondeau’s heavy trucks from city streets.

As a result, limestone was haulted via U.S. 41 north, through the roundabout and west on U.S. 41 to Negaunee Township, and south to the Palmer area. We can extrapolate from this activity that Marquette can ban heavy trucking from our city.

The then-city manager, Judy Akkala, arbitrarily had a five-ton limit sign placed at the south end of Lakeshore Boulevard beginning at the light near the Beef-a-Roo restaurant.

(I believe) this action was never approved by the city commision and I am quite sure that I was the only commissioner to register disapproval of an effort by Manager Akkala not to make life better for a considerable number of Marquette residents but was clearly done to make life better for the promoters/owners of the Lakeshore Park Place condos, the Lake Superior & Ishpeming building condos and the (what’s commonly known as the) bird house condos.

This action was very limited in scope and comfort to very few Marquette residents. The sign remains today and I believe truckers could challenge the action and win.

These partial solutions did not prevent loaded or empty logging trucks from entering Marquette from Marquette County Road 550 west to West Avenue, south to Fair Avenue, east to McClellan and south through a large portion of town.

These logging trucks were also yet allowed to turn left at Wright Street and south on any number of city streets to hit U.S. 41 south. For example, Third Street, Front Street, etc.

I am urging our city to get busy now and defend the peace, quiet and safety of Marquette residents by banning all heavy trucking from using Marquette streets unless their cargo is either generated in Marquette or to be delivered within the city of Marquette.

The city commission has hesitated to take action to seek relief from the ongoing heavy logging, sand and gravel trucks and future mine truck traffic. Now is the time.

For some years, I have touted a bypass that goes through the Narhi’s Salvage Yard, south through the Sand Pit to the We Energy haul road.

This road crosses County Road 550 near the railroad tracks close to the Old Schneider Mill and runs west to their fly ash landfill area.

The We Energies road is a very good road that in a short distance west connects to a quite good Forrestville Road going south over a newly built bridge over the Dead River.

This road runs south to U.S. 41 West at two points in Marquette Township.

Another option is for the county with financial assistance by interested parties to build a bypass road west behind the currently built-up commercial frontage along the north side of U.S. 41.

This road could connect with the Brickyard Road and west U.S. 41.

Heavy trucks coming from County Road 550 and ultimately heading east could exit Forestville Road and proceed to the Walmart light, turn left on U.S. 41 and proceed to Escanaba.

It is my belief that citizens of Marquette are not going to allow introducing huge mining trucks to those now allowed.

Again, trucking cargos not generated from within Marquette or trucking cargos not intended for delivery within Marquette should not be allowed to use city streets as a convenient shortcut through our city.

Call or write now before it is too late.

Many of you folks know that historically the city fathers have considered McClellan Avenue to be a truck route when completed.

I have been reminded most recently by a sitting comissioner that McClellan will be named a truck route.

Citizens of McClellan and the school board ought to consider fast and well of the change in your lifestyle if that becomes an ordinance in the near future.

Editor’s note: Don Potvin is a former member of the Marquette City Commission and Marquette County Board and is a resident of Marquette.