Avon Mountain trucking ban takes toll

Mike

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Staff member
With most through trucks banned from crossing over Avon Mountain, local businesses in the Farmington Valley and West Hartford are making adjustments and some are already feeling an economic pinch.
For the time being, trucks are being banned from crossing the mountain if they are not making local deliveries. Canton- based Miner Lumber regularly receives truck loads of building materials from suppliers and, conversely, makes daily deliveries. Despite the truck ban, they are still allowed to deliver items via Avon Mountain itself onto roads such as Deercliff. With the ban, they are not allowed to use Avon Mountain as a route to another town, though. Instead, deliveries of their building materials are being made using Route 4 through Farmington or Route 185 over Simsbury Mountain through Simsbury and Bloomfield.
Eric Miner said that most of their trucks are less than one year old. "The majority of truck operators are very good," he said. "A few bad seeds have caused the problem for the good ones. There will be a slight economic impact."
Miner said the truck that barreled through the intersection at the bottom of Route 44 into Nassau's Furniture was carrying a load of shingles on its way to Miner Lumber. Miner said he doesn't know why that shipment was being taken over Route 44 in the first place. He said a better route would have been from I-84 up through Route 8.
Miner said making deliveries will now take longer and use more gasoline. He said the longer delivery routes will translate to either fewer daily deliveries or increased pay for employees to work a longer day. Either way, the extra time for deliveries translates to more expenses. He said even idling in heavy traffic on Route 4 will cost his business more money in gasoline.
Despite the economic impact, Miner is supportive of the ban in the short run. "With the contours of the mountain, it is best to err on the side of caution," he said. "It is very lucky that nothing worse happened. We are taking the long road at the moment."
The economic impact of the truck ban for the Farmington Valley towns is still being calculated. Each municipality will spend more on traffic calming, road improvements and mandated truck inspections, though.
Miner said there needs to be a way to fix Avon Mountain, such as moving the intersection of Route 44 and Waterville Road closer to the Farmington River bridge or constructing a runaway lane. "Nobody wants to go over the mountain," he said. "No one looks forward to driving over the mountain."

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