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Increased logging traffic means increased public awareness

GRANDE PRAIRIE, Alta. -- As the log harvesting season begins, more logging trucks are hitting the highway and a pub...

GRANDE PRAIRIE, Alta. — As the log harvesting season begins, more logging trucks are hitting the highway and a public awareness campaign is now under way.

In the Grande Prairie area, about 2.7 million cubic metres of logs are hauled in more than 54,000 truck trips to the Canadian Forest Products, Weyerhaeuser and Ainsworth plants. Because these logs are hauled on many public roads, the industry is striving to educate the public about the needs of log haulers.

“The log haul is one of the more visible aspects of the harvest and the one we hear most about from the public,” Ainsworth scale supervisor Rod Blades tells local media. “The rural road is where we concentrate our safety effort.”

For the most part, the logging companies are responsible for grading well-travelled public roads and they sometimes even have a water truck on hand to keep the dust down. But Blades urges the general public to give truckers some leeway when hauling logs, which can sway on corners.

“Give them some respect, they are heavy units,” Blades advises. “They can’t react as fast as a normal vehicle.” That message is conveyed to children during the education campaign, as well as passenger drivers who share the roads with heavy trucks.

The logging companies advertise their hauling plans in newspapers and on the radio so motorists can avoid logging traffic. They also have monitoring programs in place to regulate speed limits and safety rules. In addition, independent auditors are contracted to check the logging trucks for mechanical defects.

Motorists are reminded that if encountering trucks on a logging road, the truck has the right of way and the car should pull over to the side of the road to let the truck pass.

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