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Wheeler Lane resident concerned about traffic from logging operation

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By Deidre Wilson

Charles Guy, a resident of Wheeler Lane, addressed the LaFollette City Council Monday night about safety concerns residents of the neighborhood have regarding the use of the road for a planned logging project.

“There are kids that come in and out of driveways,” Guy said. “In youth, when we were growing up, did we pay attention to things like that? Absolutely not.”

Guy said he was concerned that hills on the road would prevent the trucks from seeing children playing or people walking.

Council members expressed concern about the logging trucks causing damage to the roads when Kent Johnson with Oak Ridge Hardwood addressed the council earlier this month about the project.

LaFollette has an ordinance that limits the weight on commercial hauling to 10,000 pounds on city roads, but city attorney Reid Troutman said there may not be much the city can do about their use of the roadway.

“It’s a public right-of-way. We can’t stop anybody from using it. It’s a public right-of-way. The issue we have here is if they know or have an idea that their use is going to damage that roadway, at the very least, in addition to maybe some other issues,” Troutman said.

City Administrator Jimmy Jeffries told the council there is also an exception in the ordinance that allows the use of city roads if the loggers used the most direct route from the state highway to the pickup point.

Councilwoman Ann Thompson also said the logging also interfered with the city’s plans to pave the road since it would take the loggers three to four months to complete the project.

Troutman said he planned to contact the Municipal Technical Advisory Service to see if there is something preventative the city can do.

The council will not vote on this item during their regular monthly meeting, which was reset from July 4, a federal holiday, to July 10.

They will vote on awarding bids for a service contract for the city’s HVAC units. Jeffries said the lowest bid was $25 per unit to do routine checks.

They will also vote on advertising for bids on constructing a bridge in Ivydell.