Tractor-trailer crash raises questions about safety on Route 220

‘It is unnerving and scary at times’

ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. – When a tractor-trailer overturned on Route 220 in Roanoke County Wednesday afternoon, it was the moment Dave Hoglund feared would happen.

“I have never seen 220 back up that badly,” Hoglund said. “It was unbelievable.”

Traffic was at a standstill for hours while crews worked to remove the truck. Hoglund, who often commutes up Route 220 from Smith Mountain Lake, said he worried for years that a truck driver would speed and crash on the road.

“I just let the trucks pass me,” Hoglund said. “It is unnerving and scary at times.”

According to VDOT’s 2019 traffic report, more than 3,000 trucks travel on Route 220 between Roanoke and Henry counties every day.

Virginia Trucking Association president Dale Bennett said the road is a vital link between Interstate 81 and North Carolina, but it can be dangerous for some drivers.

“The pre-interstate roads, they were not built to or upgraded to interstate standards, and that’s just inherently going to create problems,” Bennett said.

The proposed Interstate 73 would run alongside Route 220 if it is ever built. Bennett said the interstate is needed to prevent truck crashes in the future.

“It will improve efficiency and it will improve safety, there’s no doubt about it,” Bennett said.

While Interstate 73 remains in limbo, Hoglund hopes officers pay more attention to trucks speeding on Route 220.

“We’ve lived here almost 16 years,” Hoglund said. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a tractor-trailer pulled over for a ticket.”

VDOT reports that 10% of Route 220′s traffic between Roanoke County and Henry County are tractor-trailer drivers.