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Commission OKs jake brake ban
Jake brakes prohibited in residential areas in county
new deh county commission   jake brake pic web
Pictured is the portion of South McKinley where residents are concerned about the use of jake brakes by truck drivers and wanted signs indicating they are not allowed.

 About a month ago, a resident complained to the Barton County Commission about the use of “jake brakes” on South McKinley and Railroad Avenue just outside the Great Bend City limits. Monday morning, commissioners took action on this matter.

Commissioners found that the operation of a compression release engine brake on a gasoline- or diesel-powered motor vehicle creates excessive noise, said Operations Director Phil Hathcock. In addition, given the flat, wide roads in Barton County, there is no safety concern that would require the use of an additional braking system in populated areas. 

Thus, the commission passed a resolution making it “unlawful for motor vehicle operator to use an engine compression brake to aid in the deceleration of any vehicle that results in the emission of excessive and loud noise within one mile of any corporate city limit within Barton County.” 

On July 17, Gary Burke requested the commission place signage concerning the use of engine brakes along the McKinley Street extension to Railroad Avenue on the edge of Great Bend. However, Hathcock said the county did not have a way then to allow the signs.

Now,  with the resolution, the commission can now direct the Road and Bridge Department to place the appropriate signs in areas under the county’s jurisdiction. For now, they will just be installed at this intersection, but if there are complaints from residents in other areas, signs will be consider there as well.

 Burke, who lives on South McKinley just outside the city, told commissioners the use of “jake brakes” by the drivers of large trucks in the area has become a nuisance for area residents. There has been increased truck traffic and increased noise from the brakes. 

These are engine brakes for truck engines that cut off fuel flow and interrupts the transfer of energy to the drive mechanism, thus slowing down the vehicle. 

Use of these is a problem on McKinley and Railroad Avenue, he said. He asked for signs on both.