PRECEDENTS of Restrictions on Through-Trucks

For National Scenic Byways (NSB) and State and County Rural Roads in the USA

--The Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway--North to Madrid, NM--

Let through-truck traffic be restricted!


     The ability of states and counties to legally prescribe through-truck restrictions (confining tractor trailers from passing through rural America without making local deliveries) appear to be somewhat common--as examples on this page suggest. When economic issues are balanced with health & safety, such restrictions have been instituted not only for National Scenic Byways (NSB) but for other American rural and collector roads. In the case of a NSB or scenic road, through-truck traffic can also have a negative impact upon a local rural economy. This page lists a few examples (including statutes) of sensible truck prohibitions. Here also are cases in progress along with informational resources. Such precedents should help citizens and their representatives, as well as DOTs, take action in seeking alternatives. These should protect the better qualities of rural living within our communities from inappropriate or otherwise unhealthy use of our rural roadways.  

--Ross Lockridge, member of NM14 CAC, April, 2007


--Precedents: two National Scenic Byways that have instituted "through-truck" restrictions: Historic Columbia River Highway and the Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway.
--The New Jersey Department of Transportation--bans on through-trucks

--The Oregon Administrative Rules Truck-Tractor with Semitrailer Combinations -- State-Approved Highways
--Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive

--Route 209 through the Delaware Water Gap in NE Pennsylvania
--Restrictions authorized for Humboldt Co., CA
--Truck Bans links (S.A.V.E.)
--"Make it easier for communities to ban through-truck traffic"--Virginia DOT
--Through Truck Restrictions in fairfax County, Virginia
--FHWA Testimony: "Scenic byways--on the distinctive...characteristics of these types of roads


Precedents: Two National Scenic Byways (NSB) with "through-truck" restrictions
There are other options than the over-widening of rural roads

1) The 2003 Scenic Area Coordinator in Oregon confirmed that the Historic Columbia River Highway (HCRH) National Scenic Byway (All American Road) has a length restriction for trucks. The Oregon State route maps shows that SEMI-TRACTOR TRAILERS SHOULD NOT USE THE SECTIONS WITH THE MOST CURVES. [emphasis added] --Source, Jeanette Kloos, Oregon Scenic Area Coordinator

2) The Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway of Minneapolis also has truck restrictions:
"Truck traffic is prohibited from using all but several short segments of the byway. There are few height or width clearance restrictions on the byway for normal passenger vehicles."

     Note that the Grand Rounds NSB owns their own roadway. However most of the Historic Columbia River Highway is a State highway (Oregon Department of Transportation) ownership. TRUCK LENGTH RESTRICTIONS ARE PART OF AN OREGON STATE LAW (actually, the law made longer trucks legal, EXCEPT WHERE ODOT DETERMINED THERE WAS A NEED TO KEEP THE OLDER, SHORTER LENGTH).


New Jersey Department of Transportation--Bans on through-trucks

The most progressive state in helping rural communities regarding trucks may be New Jersey:

Related to truck restrictions on non-National Scenic Byways, the state of New Jersey has instituted truck bans (Route 29) & certain restrictions statewide on trucks. This was started under Gov. Christie Whitman in 1999 with Executive Order for Route 29 followed by legislative action which has held up legally against trucking association's counter actions. Gov. Whitman had directed the NJ Transportation Commissioner to take action to prohibit most trucks from using Route 29. Governor Whitman then unveiled signs banning large trucks from local roads. The constitutional basis for truck restrictions was upheld more recently in a case challenging New Jersey's truck restriction.

"Myths and Facts Regarding New Jersey Truck Routing Regulations"  

The New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) has proposed to repeal and replace its Truck Access Regulations with new regulations which set forth new standards and procedures for 102 inch wide standard trucks and double-tractor trailers (Large Trucks). They establish a "Hierarchy of Roads" that Large Trucks must use.                     


The Oregon Administrative Rules Truck-Tractor with Semitrailer Combinations -- On State-Approved Highways. Here we show a brief example of some rules themselves. The complete Oregon rules may be viewed at:

Rule # 734-073-0060 -- Truck-Tractor with Semitrailer Combinations -- State-Approved Highways

(1) The length of a semitrailer in a truck-tractor and semitrailer combination shall not exceed 53 feet. The overall length of the combination shall not exceed 65 feet.

(2) The length of any load carried on the semitrailer authorized in section (1) of this rule, shall not extend beyond the rear of the semitrailer by more than five feet.

(3) State approved highways for the movement of combinations of vehicles described in section (1) of this rule, shall consist of the state highways designated by the Chief Engineer. The list of approved highways and types of vehicle combinations authorized are maintained by the Chief Engineer, and are displayed in black on Route Map 7. (3-18-05)

Rule # 734-073-0063--Truck-Tractor and Trailer/Semitrailer Combinations -- Specific Routes

The operations described in OAR 734-071-0040 may be allowed on highways other than the Oregon Interstate Highway System by variance permit. A variance permit issued under this rule shall specify conditions and a route approved by the Department. (12-17-01)


Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline--Trucks are prohibited from the BRPS Drive

"The Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive are two very unique roadways. They are two-lane roads, prohibit truck traffic...."
--Sources, Blue Ridge Bicycle Adventure[s] and Harrison Marshall, State DOT transportation planner, North Carolina.


Route 209 through the Delaware Water Gap in NE Pennsylvania is closed to all commercial traffic. It may not be a National Scenic Byway but it should be according to the PA Committee Chairman & National Trustee of the East Coast Greenway Alliance. It runs through the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area created through land acquisition that took place in the '60's and '70's. --Source: Dennis R. Winters, PA, Committee Chairman & National Trustee, East Coast Greenway Alliance.

"The story of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area also is the tale of how a 21-mile stretch of two-lane highway was banned to commercial traffic. Today the Route 209 leg that traverses the Pennsylvania side of the park between Bushkill and Milford is a scenic 35 mph drive, a pace designed so visitors can enjoy the trees, vegetation, rocky cliffs and farm fields along the way. The slower speed and absence of large tractor trailers make it easier to observe road signs pointing to major park attractions, from boat launch, picnicking and swimming sites along the Delaware River, to interior walking trails leading to majestic waterfalls.
--From "Route 209: State Highway to Park Road" an article by David Pierce, Pocono Record Writer, Originally Published on August 14, 2001,


Restrictions Authorized for Humboldt Co., CA in 2000. Current year 2007 restrictions need verification.

Humboldt County, CA has truck restrictions on all State highways entering the County from the North, East and South. According to a December 1989 Report to the Legislature (latest edition verified by Traffic Operations), these route segments are geometrically inadequate for use by 40-foot king pin to rear axle tractor semi-trailer combinations [examples of prohibitions detailed as follows]:

* US 101 from the junction of SR 1 near Leggett in Mendocino County to Benbow in Humboldt County.
* US 101 from Big Lagoon Park to Orick in Humboldt County.
* SR 36 from the junction of US 101 near Alton to the junction of US 5 in Red Bluff, Tehema County.
* SR 299 from New Lewiston Road in Trinity County to the junction of SR 273 in Redding, Shasta County.
* SR 96 from the junction of SR 299 at Willow Creek to Happy Camp in Siskiyou County.

Source: "Prosperity: The North Coast's Strategy for the New Economy", 1999/2000, The County of Humboldt, Office of Economic Development 


Truck Bans-from "Safety, Agriculture, Villages and Environment" (S.A.V.E.)
Through-Bound Truck Prohibitions:

"Through-bound trucks are those that are just passing through. They are not picking up or delivering goods in our [Pennsylvania] area. This prohibition is similar to the through-truck ban implemented in New Jersey in 1999. This restriction is legal and workable." Through-Bound Truck Prohibitions Solves Safety Problems; Solves Alleged Capacity Problems; Solves Infrastructure Problems; A Through-truck ban is practical, timely, legal and inexpensive; Pennsylvania Law Authorizes a Truck Restriction on Route 41; Federal Law Authorizes a Truck Restriction on Route 41; New Jersey's Through-Bound Truck Ban; The U.S. Constitution Permits a Truck Restriction; There are reasonable alternative routes for through-bound trucks; The Turnpike is a Safer Route For Trucks; and more subjects that can serve as examples for other groups in other states.


Make it easier for communities to ban through-truck traffic--Virginia DOT


o Make it easier for communities to ban through-truck traffic on roads not designed for trucks WHEN ALTERNATE ROUTES EXIST. [emphasis added]
o Use traffic circles.
o Promote redundancy.
o Divert freight from roads to rail.
o Reduce the use of double tractor trailers. Do not allow longer, wider and heavier trucks than are currently permitted.
o Avoid the use of toxic chemicals for control of roadway vegetation.
o Use plants to prevent erosion on hills adjacent to roadways instead of rocks.
o Expand wildflower planting along roadways.
--Source: Virginia Statewide Multimodal Long-Range Transportation Plan Discussion Group Meeting, Richmond, Virginia, October 22, 2001, <> This link may be dated.


Through Truck Restrictions in fairfax County, Virginia (Residential Traffic Administration Program)

Through truck restrictions prohibit trucks (except pick-up or panel trucks) and any combination of truck, tractor truck, trailer or semitrailer on designated roads where "Through Trucks Prohibited" signs are installed. The qualifications for through truck restrictions are:

* Residential local or collector road, or residential arterial or primary road, with > 12 dwellings per 1000 feet of roadway
* Safety issues or accident history indicate need for restriction
* Suitable alternate route available

The procedures for through truck restriction are:

1. A request is made to the district supervisor by the HOA
2. The district supervisor forwards the request to FCDOT
3. A preliminary analysis of the road is conducted by FCDOT
4. The Board of Supervisors conducts a public hearing to approve a resolution for the through truck restriction
5. Resolution forwarded to VDOT requesting a through truck restriction
6. Comprehensive engineering review of road is performed by VDOT
7. VDOT publishes notice of proposed restriction for additional public comment
8. If road qualifies for through truck restriction, VDOT installs "Through Trucks Prohibited" signs


FHWA Testimony: Scenic byways--on the distinctive, appealing, characteristics of these types of roads

"However, we must be mindful of the fact that there are different requirements for different types of roads. SCENIC BYWAYS, FOR EXAMPLE, are existing roads used by local residents, commercial traffic, and by those who travel purely for pleasure, recreation, and education. THE DISTINCTIVE, APPEALING, CHARACTERISTICS OF THESE TYPES OF ROADS WOULD BE COMPLETELY LOST IF THEY WERE STRAIGHTENED, WIDENED, AND TURNED INTO THOROUGHFARES. All users need to travel at speeds appropriate for the type of road on which they are traveling and respect the diversity of our highway system." [emphasis added]

--Statement Of Philip R. Recht, Deputy Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and Anthony R. Kane, Executive Director, Federal Highway Administration, U.S. DOT, before the Committee on Environment and Public Works, Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure, United States Senate, May 7, 1997 <>

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Page updated: November 2009