Sen. Dan Gibbs introduces law to keep trucks in the left lane
Vail, CO, Colorado
SUMMIT COUNTY – State Sen. Dan Gibbs wants to improve Interstate 70 mountain traffic flow by keeping large commercial trucks out of the fast lane on steeper grades.
“My goal is to improve mobility and efficiency along the highway,” Gibbs said.
He’s sponsoring a bill to be introduced this week that would require vehicles weighing more than 26,000 pounds to stay out of the left lane on grades of 6 percent or more.
He said traffic flow can be impeded when a truck is climbing a hill at 30 mph and another truck – traveling at perhaps 31 mph – tries to pass it, taking up both lanes. The I-70 speed limit along the mountain corridor is generally 65 mph.
“It’s frustrating, and I think it’s a safety issue not only for truckers but those on roads when they’re cruising right along and have to slam on the brakes,” Gibbs said. “This bill results from my personal experiences as well as hearing from people in Summit County (and) other mountain communities.”
If passed, the new law would affect uphill and downhill traffic on Floyd Hill, Georgetown Hill, areas near the Eisenhower Tunnel and Vail Pass.
I-70 through Glenwood Canyon already requires large trucks to stay in the right lane.
As officials statewide work toward a long-term I-70 plan – such as road widening or high-speed rail – Gibbs said this “early-action item” can make a “meaningful difference.”
“This will not be easy, but I’m confident it’s the right thing to do,” Gibbs said, adding that there will likely be contention with the truckers’ lobby.
In 2007, Gibbs’s first year with the state House, he presented controversial legislation that increased penalties for truck drivers failing to comply with Colorado’s snow chain laws. It ultimately passed.
Robert Allen can be contacted at (970) 668-4628 or email@example.com.
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