From LaBelle, Florida for Hendry and Glades County and the Lake Okeechobee region. Don Browne, editor.
LABELLE, FL. -- Ordinarily, Birchwood Parkway in Port LaBelle is a very quiet street. About the only vehicles on the road usually are people going to and from the several dozen homes in Laurel Oaks and the estate homes farther north.But, almost daily dump trucks also ply the route from State Road 80, turning north on Birchwood enroute to Frontier Circle to pick up dirt loads from the shores of the Caloosahatchee River. The dirt is being excavated from the dikes built by the Corp of Engineers decades ago along the river. And trucking companies are now moving the dirt to the construction going on from LaBelle to Ft. Myers along State Road 80 west of LaBelle.Normally, the trucks pose no problem to residents or motorists along the route. Except for one company's trucks.Cochran Construction and Paving Company, a local LaBelle company, probably picks up more loads of dirt than any other. And Cochran drivers and management don't care about heeding speed limits or keeping trucks in repair.Residents in the area have complained to the company for months about the speeding and loud noises of their trucks. The company has yet to return any phone calls in response to the complaints and goes on ignoring any safety issues.One resident who has a home within fifty feet of the route traveled by Cochran's trucks, says you can hear the Cochran trucks from nearly a mile away because of faulty exhaust systems and squeaking brakes. Although the speed limit is marked 25 mph in the residential area of Port LaBelle, the drivers routinely ignore the posted signs.Cochran Constuction and Paving gets this weeks award for "Bad Neighbors" in Hendry County.