Suncor moves transports out of downtown Petrolia

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Traffic in Petrolia’s downtown is a lot lighter and nobody seems to mind.

After years of trying to stop transport trucks from traveling right through the downtown, Town officials think they may have finally stopped to one of the biggest offending groups – grain haulers heading to Suncor’s Ethanol Plant in St. Clair Township.

For years, Mayor John McCharles and council have voiced concern about the number of transports using the main street as a through way. McCharles was concerned about public safety and about the wear and tear on the local roads which were not built for transport traffic.

Officials worked with the OPP on education of truckers and approached Lambton County to increase signage to ease the problem, but nothing seemed to help.

Last Wednesday, a delegation from the town, including CAO Manny Baron, met with the plant manager at Suncor who apologized for the headaches the trucks had been causing and vowed to work with the town to reduce the number of transports going through the downtown.

“Suncor has one central dispatch for the transports,” says Baron “she is going to go back and direct them not to come down Petrolia Line.”

Baron says that seems to have worked. “Monday is a huge day for delivery…there were one or two that I saw but …there were significantly less.”

“The letters (from council previously) were probably just given lip service and that’s about it,” says Mayor John McCharles. “When you go to people higher up at Suncor, that makes the difference.”

While getting Suncor’s grain haulers to go around the downtown is a big victory, McCharles says there are still other transports using Petrolia Line. To stop that, McCharles says, Petrolia needs help from the County of Lambton – help that he says has not been forthcoming.

“I don’t think we’re getting our message through,” says the mayor. “I’m disappointing that the county isn’t more aggressive. Why couldn’t they put up more signage?”

McCharles says the town will continue to work with the county on the issue adding he would still like to see the county make Petrolia Line a truck free zone.

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