New Braunfels City Council members on Monday gave initial approval to a measure that would establish restricted through truck traffic zones on some streets near the intersection of I-35 and state Highway 46.
Garry Ford, the city’s assistant public works director and city engineer, told council members they received a request to restrict through truck traffic on Lake Front Avenue between the I-35 frontage road and Freiheit Road and Freiheit Road between Lake Front Avenue and state Highway 46 because of excessive large truck usage.
“They indicated they were using Lake Front and Freiheit as a cut through to avoid traffic delays at I-35 and 46,” Ford said. “It’s an issue when that intersection is congested, and there are delays.”
City engineering staff compiled a traffic study in November and January, which included a site investigation, multiple observation periods of data collecting and a review of the crash history in the study area, Ford said.
Traffic crash data for the last three years from the Texas Department of Transportation’s Crash Records Information System indicated there were no crashes reported for either Lake Front Avenue and Freiheit Road in the study area.
City staff members observed through truck activity in the study area from Jan. 22-26 during the morning, afternoon and evening peak times and found that the
average daily traffic volume for Lake Front Avenue was 5,855 vehicles per day, which Ford said was a high amount of traffic, of which an average of 1% are trucks.
Based on observations, the study indicated that more than 60% of trucks on Lake Front Avenue during the three peak study periods were through trucks utilizing eastbound Lake Front Avenue and northbound Freiheit Road to bypass the intersection of I-35 and state Highway 46.
“We see some of these as gravel trucks that cut through there,” Ford said. “Some of these are accessing the local businesses, but most of them go through.”
Ford also said a proposed striping plan on Lake Front Avenue and Freiheit Road, dependent on funding, would reduce the lane widths on Lake Front Avenue and reduce the size of the intersection of Lake Front Avenue and Freiheit Road. These improvements would not properly accommodate large through trucks, he said.
Ford also pointed out that a through truck restriction already exists on Lake Front Avenue between Freiheit Road and Dunlap Drive to address the same issue.
The segment of Lake Front Avenue in the study area is located within a commercial area with several driveways to various businesses and a shopping center.
The segment of Freiheit Road borders a commercial and residential area. No homes front this segment of Freiheit Road, but there are driveways for accessing the loading area of a shopping center, a hotel and a restaurant.
A second and final reading on the item is expected on the council’s agenda next month.
The Transportation and Traffic Advisory Board unanimously recommended creating through truck traffic restrictions at their meeting on Feb. 11.