Beer truck guy wonders why he has to take long way
A local beer truck driver named Fred had a question about why he can use some Baltimore County roads and not others to deliver the suds:
I drive a beer truck and always wondered why on Rts. 702 and 43 they have sections where they don't allow trucks over 5 tons. They want the trucks to use Back River Neck Road and Bel Air Rd. instead of the limited access roads. What is the thought process to take trucks through crowded roads where there are more pedestrians, side streets and potential accidents?
Not being privy to the thought processes of the State Highway Administration, I asked spokesman Charlie Gischlar to look into the matter. As usual, Gischlar found the answer:
When each of these roadways was planned, designed and constructed, agreements were reached with the communities about large trucks that would not be permitted for reasons of safety, noise and a general recognition of community livability.
MD 702 is nearly all residential. MD 43 was not to serve as a bypass to the Beltway, nor was it intended to serve the White Marsh Mall from the west. Trucks may use parts of it to gain access to US 1 (Belair Road) from the west, but the residential areas to the east of US 1 large trucks are restricted.
This is a good reminder that not all answers can be discerned simply from driving on a road. Motorists are not in a sposition to know the history and background of the negotiations that got the road built in the first place. What looks like sheer stupidity might have been the only way to get something done. (The intersection of Route 100 and U.S. 29 is another example. The goofy interchange design was forced by the need to protect an historic property.)
Unfortunately there's no room on road signs for complex explanations of the the back story of highway construction. Maybe highway gurus could come up wiith a pithy, universally recognized symbol that conveys the message: "Trust us, there's a reason for this nonsense.")
And, no, as important as it is to get the beer to its destination, the state can't go abrogating its deals with local communities.