Council tables no engine braking ordinance

By Sheryl Roadcap -

SIDNEY — A proposed no “jake braking” ordinance was tabled by Sidney City Council during Monday’s meeting.

After the proposal for an amendment of an ordinance was introduced, Cumberland Avenue residents Merrill Asher, representative for his neighborhood’s homeowners association, and Phillip Watkins spoke to council in favor of passing it. Both said the law will help reduce noise not only for their neighborhood near exit 90 of Interstate 75, but for other areas of Sidney as well.

The prohibition was first discussed during council’s workshop session on Jan. 4. During that meeting, City Manager Mark Cundiff said a resident asked if Sidney could prohibit engine braking on the I-75 northbound off-ramp at Fair Road and along Fair Road at the traffic signal at the I-75 northbound off-ramp. After some discussion, most members of council were in favor of passing the ordinance, but further discussion was set for the following meeting.

Then, during council’s regular meeting on Jan. 10, Asher said the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) will not erect “No Engine Brake” signs to control the noise of interstate commerce on the mainline or ramps to interstate routes, because it may be inconsistent with federal law. However, he said, if a Sidney ordinance was instituted their homeowners association could place signs on their private property close to I-75 alerting truck drivers “jake braking” is not allowed.

During Monday’s meeting, Asher reiterated that signage will help notify truck drivers not to engine brake, as it must be applied manually. He said he was told by several trucking companies there is a manual switch that must be turned on to allow the truck to engine brake.

“We have no concerns today. We haven’t mentioned this in the 10 to 11 years that I have lived there. We have had a couple people within the association which I represent — 53 members — that have had issues with it, but not real dramatic. What we are concerned about at the present time is the fact that it will be additional truck traffic coming through Fair Road, as well as the Interstate, that might take advantage of ‘jake braking’ at some point in time,” Asher said. “We have at least two, three a week, but it’s during the daylight hours. What we are concerned about with is a 24/7 truck stop, that this will be late at night when people are trying to sleep.”

He pointed out a resolution that was passed by the Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission in 2008 that banned “un-muffled engine braking” on the Ohio Turnpike, unless it was an emergency, and questioned why such an ordinance could not be passed in Sidney.

Mayor Mike Barhorst asked Asher if he had any knowledge about information he received about newer trucks having the engine braking feature built into the truck, that can be switched off on some trucks, but not all.

Asher said information he received from an employee of Stoops Freightliner in Dayton said it was a manual switch, and otherwise had no other information about it.

Council member Steve Wagner said he recently spoke with a driver of a newer truck who told him engine braking was a built-in feature of his truck. Wagner then questioned how council could pass such an ordinance if this was true.

Barhorst said he was waiting for further information about the matter from the presidents of three trucking companies and will pass along the information once it is received.

After this exchange, Council member Joe Ratermann moved and council voted to table the ordinance until more information is received.

By Sheryl Roadcap

Reach the writer 937-538-4823.

Reach the writer 937-538-4823.