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Rumbling truck brakes push Alberta town to urge speed-limit reduction, changed signage

The jarring sound of engine brakes on heavy-duty trucks has become a cause for concern among residents in Devon.

Some of the 6,546 people who live in the Edmonton bedroom community, including the town's mayor, have written letters to the province asking for a change in the speed limit around the highway intersection that hosts the offending noise.

Devon resident Doug Martel, who lives two blocks from the intersection of Highway 60 and Miquelon Avenue, said he's clocked approaching trucks coming up to it well over the posted 70 kilometres-per-hour speed limit.

“I’ve clocked trucks coming in here at close to 90 kilometres per hour and that’s just kind of normal," said Martel, who can hear the loud rumble made by trucks using their engine retarder brakes from his house — all day and all night.

He's asked the province to reduce the speed limit to 60 kilometres per hour and to change language on signage to say the use of engine retarder brakes is prohibited.

“A lot of the trucks will just absolutely ignore that and use their engine retarder brakes just to help them stop at the stop light," he said.

Not only are the brake noises bothering nearby residents, patients at a hospital adjacent to the intersection endure the grating sounds as well, said Mayor Jeff Craddock.

"The concern that we have as a town is the hospital, because right on that hill where it comes over is also the palliative wing for the hospital," he said. "In people’s last days, that’s a lot of noise and disruption."

Craddock says he's had discussions with the province about the issue.

In a statement to CTV News Edmonton, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Alberta Transportation and Economic Corridors said “there is no provincial legislation that regulates the use of engine retarder brakes along provincial highways or the noise emitted from them," adding that it is evaluating moving the sign warning of a speed limit reduction ahead by about 50 metres to give drivers more time to react to the change in speed limit.

They also said provincial highway regulations prohibit vehicles from "emitting any excessive noise" between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.

“We’re going to try everything, whether it’d be language or a different type of sign, whatever, just to try and slow that down and take away the noise element," Craddock said.

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