BATH — An effort to reduce large truck traffic on Richardson Street, between Bath Road and High Street, has hit a bump in the road after it was discovered that state law won’t allow the city to make changes.

Richardson Street and neighboring Western Avenue were both the subject of efforts to reduce truck traffic, specifically from multi-axled ones. Residents complained about the danger the trucks posed on the narrow streets, according to Bath Police Chief Michael Field.

“One of the requests we’ve had was to limit large trucks going up and down those streets,” said Field at the Dec. 6 meeting of City Council. “Those are quite often being used as a shortcut to get from Route 1 to 209.”

A traffic consultant was hired by the city to examine the two streets, and the intention was to post signage at either end and patrol the street in the hopes of getting larger trucks to use the Route 1 exit that leads to High Street.

Those efforts, however, have to be postponed indefinitely. The city discovered that Richardson Street is considered a “state aid” road. According to new City Manager Peter Owen, that means the city has no jurisdiction over rule making on the road.

“We did not realize that Richardson Street was a state aid road,” said Owen. “We get funding for that, and the state maintains the authority for rules of those roads.”

The city cannot implement new speed limits, add stop signs, or place any restrictions on the street without the state’s involvement. According to Owen, conversations with state officials have led the city to believe that the likelihood of being allowed to place any restrictions is low.

The news came shortly before the city council meeting, and after a meeting the city held with residents of Western Avenue and Richardson Street.

Councilor Sean Paulhus, who represents the ward containing both streets, said he was disappointed by the news.

“I want people on Richardson Street and Western Avenue to know in general that we are very much working on this,” said Paulhus. “It’s a small setback but I think we can still come out with a solution to help.”

According to Owen, the traffic consultant will still be examining the two roads, and will offer potential traffic calming solutions.

While Western Avenue is not a state aid road, changes will also be postponed to it, as well.

“I would be hesitant to implement a change to Western, which would have the effect of pushing that traffic over to Richardson, which is exactly what we don’t want,” said Owen. “I think it’s best to just wait.”