Russell Police working to curb tractor-trailer speeding along Route 20

A surprise tractor-trailer checkpoint was set-up in Russell on Tuesday after complaints about speeding on Route 20.
Published: Apr. 4, 2023 at 2:59 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 4, 2023 at 5:08 PM EDT
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RUSSELL, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - A surprise tractor-trailer checkpoint was set-up in Russell on Tuesday after complaints about speeding on Route 20. In an effort to combat that speeding, Russell Police told Western Mass News that they’ve joined forces with Massachusetts State Police to conduct traffic enforcement throughout the summer months.

Russell Police Lt. Sean Shattuck told us throughout the next few months, they will be conducting surprise tractor-trailer checkpoints at the State Police barracks, similar to the one set-up on Tuesday. He said with the weather warming up, more construction will be taking place on the Mass. Pike leading to an uptick in traffic in town.

“They’re coming off the turnpike because of the construction up there and they’re using Route 20 and Route 23 in an effort to get farther out east,” Shattuck explained.

Shattuck told us truck drivers often get off on Exit 41 in Westfield and take Route 202 to Route 20 through Russell and all the way to the Berkshires, where they are able to get back on the Pike. Shattuck said his department has gotten about 45 to 50 complaints about tractor--trailers speeding along Route 20 from residents this year alone, which sparked the idea of setting up checkpoints.

“We’re hoping to get the word out to everybody, not just truckers, but normal motors to if you wanna come through town, that’s fine. We invite you in town to use the roads, but we’re looking just to make sure people are driving safe, following the speed limit on the road and making it safe for the residents that live here,” Shattuck noted.

We caught up with Rita Cote, who lives right off of Route 20 in Russell. She told us speeding is a huge issue in her neighborhood, especially from those coming off the highway.

“They go very, very fast down the stretch of road, you know. They don’t realize that all of a sudden, it’s 40 miles an hour from 55…You’re in a residential area. You’re not on the highway anymore. You need to slow down just for people walking, like I go for walks and, you know across Route 20 and you got to be careful,” Cote said.

As for the checkpoints, Shattuck told us they’re looking for proper license, registration, and permits for the vehicles and weight of cargo, as well as making sure everyone is driving safely.