Truck driving testing raises concerns in Alexandria
It's causing congested traffic in industrial park and residential areas.
ALEXANDRIA — The process of truck drivers taking their driving tests is drawing complaints about congested traffic in the industrial park and residential areas.
At its June 27 meeting, the Alexandria City Council talked about the testing process. The topic came up again at the council's July 11 meeting.
Truck drivers take their written test at the 700 Cedar Building and then drive with a Minnesota Department of Transportation examiner to the Heritage Industrial Park for the driving portion of the test. Following the driving test, the drivers go to the County Administration building to get their license.
City Engineer Tim Schoonhoven said that prior to 2021, truck driver testing occurred three days per week. But since then, driver testing is occurring five days per week.
The trucks park on the north side of 8th Avenue between Cedar and Bryant. There is about 150 feet of space on 8th Avenue west of the parking lot driveway. This space is sufficient for two semi trucks to be parked at the same time, Schoonhoven said.
Drivers have been taking their written test and picking up their examiner at this location for more than 20 years, according to Schoonhoven.
Schoonhoven said he talked to Chris Wagner of Heritage Trucking about issues they are experiencing in the industrial park. Wagner said there’s a great need for more truck drivers and that he supports the testing program, but as the industrial park continues to develop, there are more and more traffic concerns. The issue is not just the driver testing with the examiners but also new drivers are practicing in the industrial park, according to Wagner.
Wagner told Schoonhoven that the testing could continue in the industrial park if the testing could be moved to other areas in the park where there’s less traffic or if testing locations could be rotated to use different areas.
The city's highway committee said the best long-term solution would be to relocate the testing facility in a different location, preferably in a commercial or industrial area. As an interim solution, the council approved the highway committee recommendations:
- Place signs on the north side of 8th Avenue, west of the parking lot driveway, as Designated Truck Parking.
- Work with the MnDOT Driver and Vehicle Services examiners to direct the drivers to park only in the designated locations on 8th Avenue and, following the driving test, to leave the truck on 8th Avenue and to walk to the County Administration building. No parking would be allowed at any time on Cedar Street.
- Direct the MnDOT Driver and Vehicle Services examiners to rotate the driving test locations within the industrial park to reduce the impact on any single business.
The council directed staff to implement those steps and to work with county and state personnel to find an alternate location for testing and licensing of truck drivers.