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Residents furious about trucks disobeying rules of the road

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INDEPENDENCE - A couple of gravel pits in Tangipahoa Parish are causing concern for some of their rural neighbors.

Rick Ludwig says the trucks hauling off the gravel are damaging the roads and creating a safety problem.

"Something's going to happen and that's a big worry... Public safety," said Ludwig.

In Independence, Ludwig has a home and a business. He's lived in the same home with his wife since 1988 on West Black Cat Road. Ludwig says the area is a hot spot for speeders, which he recognizes is an issue everywhere. But he's concerned about the gravel trucks that sometimes, begin running at five in the morning.

The problem is with the drivers of the trucks that aren't supposed to be on the road," he said. "It really is a hazard and we're afraid someone is going to get hurt someday."

The trucks are going to and from the gravel pit west of Ludwig's home and I-55, about a mile and a half down the road. He says the heavy equipment rattles the house, sometimes causing photos to fall from the wall.

It's a problem that's not supposed to be a problem at all since West Black Cat Road is a no-truck route. Signs are posted throughout, up and down the road.

A manager on site at the gravel pit tells 2 On Your Side the trucks aren't owned by Industrial Mining, LLC. The trucks come to the site, take a load, and haul away the gravel. The manager said the truck drivers know they are supposed to head west out of the mining site, to make sure the drivers are not traveling along a no-truck route.

Ludwig says on a busy day, there are 20-25 trucks that travel back and forth on the no truck route. He's even more concerned, now that the same gravel pit company has purchased land a mile from the current site, inside of the no-truck zone.

As his concern grows, Ludwig has now involved his neighbors and submitted a petition to the Parish Council earlier this year. The 33 signatures on the petition represent residing property owners along West Black Cat Road. The petition objects to the proposed gravel pit and addresses concerns of increased, unauthorized truck traffic in and out of the site where it is already prohibited.

Councilman Carlo Bruno, who represents Ludwig's district, tells 2 On Your Side the parish will determine if the trucks are damaging the road and will go after them for liability. At this time, Bruno does not agree the roads are damaged.

Bruno says the gravel pit owner made an agreement with the parish to have the trucks avoid the no-truck route. He says the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office does monitor the area for offenders. Bruno is aware the same company purchased more land inside the no-truck zone but admits that at this time there is not a solution to Ludwig's concerns. There is no zoning in Tangipahoa Parish.

"The parish's hands are tied because we can't stop the commerce," said Bruno.

The councilman tells WBRZ the parish can't stop the trucks from hauling the material and it will have to determine as a council if the no-truck route will be lifted to allow opportunity at the new pit.

"The parish has no alternative but to let them come out and drive along West Black Cat Road," said Bruno.

Ludwig says he was here long before the gravel pit and he only wants the trucks to follow the rules.

"Just tell them, stay off the road," he said.

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