Slatersville sign

A sign prohibiting truck and bus drivers from turning right on Main Street was recently installed on North Main Street in Slatersville.

NORTH SMITHFIELD – The Rhode Island Department of Transportation has installed new signs in downtown Slatersville in an attempt to cut down the number of large trucks that continue to pass through the village.

Charles St. Martin, spokesperson for the RIDOT, said the two signs prohibiting trucks from turning right on Main Street from North Main Street and Railroad Street were installed on Oct. 22. The signs also prohibit buses from turning right at the two intersections.

At the same time, St. Martin said, the agency has replaced nine existing signs with ones that read “Local deliveries only, no thru-trucking, 4 axle limit.” Those signs are located at various entrances to the area.

Local officials have expressed concern about the issue since at least 2014, when the Town Council asked state legislators to limit truck traffic in the area. The General Assembly passed a law prohibiting vehicles with more than four axles from traveling on portions of Main Street, North Main Street, School Street and Greene Street, but trucks have continued to pass through the area, occasionally getting stuck on corners or taking down telephone poles on the tight turns.

Town Administrator Paul Zwolenski said last week that the town has continued to be active on the issue. Zwolenski said he asked Public Works Director Raymond Pendergast and Police Chief Tim Lafferty to contact the RIDOT to see what could be done about the wide-turning trucks.

While he was glad to see the new signage, Zwolenski also pointed out some truck drivers continue to ignore the law. Last Monday, he said, he took a photo of a large truck whose driver was trying to turn right onto Main Street after crossing the bridge on Railroad Street. Zwolenski said he planned to send the photo to the North Smithfield Police Department and talk with them about fining drivers who break the law.

“I saw a five-axle truck today come across the Slatersville bridge and take a right-hand turn,” he said. “It’s got to stop. It just has to cease.”

One resident who has noticed the new signs is Gary Ezovski, the former town administrator who pushed for state officials to address the issue when he served in office from 2016 to 2020. Ezovski said he first saw the signs while walking his dog near his North Main Street home last month. He expressed hope the clear language of the new signs would give police more opportunity to ticket drivers who break the law.

Like Zwolenski, Ezovski said he has continued to see large trucks pass through the area and occasionally will remind truck drivers about the restriction.

“We’ll see. Hopefully it stops a few of the trucks from rounding the corner and doing any damage,” he said.

Ezovski suggested adding flashing yellow lights to the signs might make them more visible to drivers.

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