The truck route
The truck route
RIDGELAND — City officials approved a route for heavy trucks working on the controversial Costco site through the roundabout on Highland Colony Parkway, despite concerns from some aldermen.

A motion for approval by Ward 5 Alderman Scott Jones passed 4-3 after the board killed two substitute motions offered by Ward 1 Alderman Ken Heard to require developers to place a $1.2 million security bond for potential damage to the Parkway.

Heard, Alderman-at-Large D.I. Smith and Ward 4 Alderman Brian Ramsey ultimately voted against the request.

The trio was likewise on the losing side of Heard’s two substitute motions, one of which would have tabled the issue entirely until such money was secured and guaranteed by developers.

Ward 2 Alderman Chuck Gautier said that this was essentially calling for an “insurance policy” that the city would have no way to enforce.

“I just don’t see how you can enforce this when there would really be no way to tell or justify what damage was or wasn’t caused by these trucks on a road that already has heavy traffic and likely resulting damage,” Gautier said.

Jones pointed out that traffic, including heavy trucks, already travel the road as a main thoroughfare for a variety of reasons, including any number of construction projects in nearby residential neighborhoods.

The route would permit Hemphill Construction trucks working on the Renaissance Phase III — or Costco — development to carry 33,980 loads, mostly dirt, out of the work site to I-55 through a portion of the roundabout just north of the development.

Trucks would be required to access the site on Highland Colony to the south and would only be allowed to use the northbound, eastern most lane that doesn’t involve the circle.

A similar motion passed along similar lines in May that would allow Foley Products to deliver 30 loads of pipe to the site through similar means on a similar route.

Heard asked if there were established weight limits for city roads, specifically Highland Colony. Public Works Director Mike McCollum said that there were no established limits, since a recent ordinance amendment.

Heard asked if that policy was unusual and McCollum answered that it was not. Heard then asked for the design limits of the Parkway, but McCollum said that he did not have them readily available.

A small group of citizens against the developments, many now familiar faces at city meetings, made their presence known Tuesday night.

A lone question was asked by a woman who referenced the unamended weight limits in the previous ordinance. She said it limited trucks to 25,000 pounds for single axle trucks and 50,000 for double axle.

McCollum said that though the trucks would likely exceed those limits, the amended ordinance would allow these trucks to pass.

Developers have already started clearing the land. Developer Andrew Mattiace said they hope to have 70 percent of the dirt moved by September or October of 2018, although because of the changing nature of any construction project would work with the city on clarifying a date.

Heard mentioned that he worried truck traffic could interfere with school traffic in the fall and spring.