As a local truck driver, I was interested (and somewhat amused) by last Wednesday's article about the proposed "addition" to the truck route to bypass downtown Park Rapids. The reason for the amusement and the quotes around the addition is that the main reason that there is still a lot of truck traffic through downtown is that the current truck routes are the best- kept secrets in the county. There are no signs marking either route so out of town truckers have no idea that they're there.
Recently, I sat in my truck at the 34/71 intersection waiting for snarled traffic to clear so I could turn north onto 71. The reason for the traffic snarl was an oversized load with two pilot cars trying to turn west onto 34. Drivers trying to make a left turn onto 71 north would not give up the turn lane that the long load needed to make the turn and the wide swing the driver was trying to make blocked all of southbound 71.
I got on my CB and told the driver about the bypass and, after making a few unkind comments about unmarked truck routes, he thanked me and said he would use the Candle Factory route on his next trip.
One of a truck driver's greatest fears, especially an over-size load driver, is to drive his rig down into a dead end or cul-de-sac with no way out. If a truck route is not clearly marked, very few out-of-town drivers will take a chance on taking a route that they may have only heard about from another driver.