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Downstream Strategies: Heavy Trucks Play a Part in Greenhouse Gas Emissions

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Heavy truck makes a wide turn onto the Walnut Street Bridge in downtown Morgantown. Heavy truck makes a wide turn onto the Walnut Street Bridge in downtown Morgantown.
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MORGANTOWN -

If you're in the Morgantown area, near Walnut and Spruce Street, chances are you're going to see a large truck. And loud noises are one of the biggest headaches for citizens concerned with the trucks.

The noise complaints don't only come from residential neighborhoods but from businesses that say the noise interferes with meetings.

"People who are working downtown or have offices downtown have complained about not being able to conduct meetings or not being able to open their door," said Bill Kawecki, a Morgantown City Councilor. "Really, they just feel it's scaring away customers and people just visiting."

The environmental consulting firm Downstream Strategies did a Community Greenhouse Gas Inventory for Morgantown. It's the first study about greenhouse gas emissions for the city. The Project Manager said the trucks play a part.

"The high number of trucks that go through the city," started Jeff Simcoe, Project Manager with the Energy Program at Downstream Strategies. "I believe the trucks contribute to the congestion on the roadway which also increase the greenhouse gases emitted due to transportation because the roads can't handle that much traffic."

The Downstream Strategies study looked at five different sectors. The use of electricity, fuel on residential and commercial stationary combustion equipment, the use of energy in drinking water and waste water treatment and distribution, emissions associated with solid waste generation by the community, and finally transportation emissions from passenger and freightmotor vehicles were all considered.

"In the source based category in 2012 there were approximately 700,000 metro tons of carbon dioxide emitted," said Simcoe. "In the activity based category there were more than 800,000 metro tons of carbon dioxide emitted based on activities within the Morgantown community."

It's a three-part study that will continue with phase two in 2015.

Safe Streets Morgantown proposed an ordinance to re-route the trucks away from downtown.

"As I said to council, no one is stepping up to defend Morgantown on this issue so Morgantown is going to have to defend itself," said Brian McAllister, from Safe Streets Morgantown. "I think this plan affords us a reasonable degree of confidence as we move forward whether it be before a judge or before our fellow citizens."

"Heavy Trucks" are considered to be more than 20 thousand pounds with three axles.

"I think that the majority of council is sympathetic to the fact that this particular weigh of truck, this particular volume of trucking is detrimental to our downtown area," Kawecki said.

The Heavy Truck Traffic Ordinance was just presented this week at city council.

12 News will continue to follow this story and have an update when it becomes available.