Lockport police will be out in force this summer, protecting the city's investment in Main Street.
Over the past year, construction crews have been digging up streets and sidewalks along the City of Lockport's half-mile stretch of Main Street, spending more than $3 million to improve and welcome travelers to the city's main thoroughfare.
But the welcome does not extend to tractor-trailer drivers who may consider Main Street a shortcut between to Routes 31 or 78.
Mayor Michael W. Tucker said Main Street, by state law, has always had restrictions on truck traffic, but a new local law adds more teeth.
"We've asked police to uphold the law, to put a blitz on. We don't want the truck traffic here. It tears up the street. It's pretty simple," said Tucker.
Traffic Capt. Ronald E. Vogt said trucks over 10,000 pounds are not allowed on Main Street unless the truck is making a Main Street delivery. Anyone found guilty of violating the restriction now faces fines of up to $250 and up to 15 days in jail. This more than doubles the state fine of $100 and, since the local law supersedes the state law, all fines will go directly to the City of Lockport.
Tucker said the City Council had already set aside $15,000 for additional patrols, but expects the money to come back to the city in the form of fines.
"This must be enforced aggressively or trucks will destroy the new improvements on Main Street," said Vogt.
Vogt said city police have enforced the state law sporadically, but patrols will be stepped up.
"There are definitely truckers using Main Street because it's easier than making all the turns. It's like speeding: People take a chance. They know we're out there. It's like rolling the dice," said Vogt.
Vogt said he doesn't want to "blindside" any truckers who don't follow the allowed-route signs and has asked for warning signs on Transit Road and Washburn Street so that no one accidentally goes down Main Street.
"I remember one time when I broke down on the highway and who stopped? A trucker," Vogt said. "I've never forgotten it. No one wants to issue tickets to truckers. That's their livelihood."