MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Va. – Every day, thousands of trucks drive down Interstate 81.
For truck drivers like Chris Zirkle, areas to stop between Wytheville to Roanoke are limited.
“A good place to stop between here and Wytheville, there’s not very many,” Zirkle said.
Many truckers, including Zirkle, stop at the Ironto Rest Area just off I-81. When the spots fill up, some drivers will just pull off and park.
Zirkle said it’s unsafe for truckers and for regular drivers, especially when the trucks are trying to merge back on the interstate.
“You’re looking at an 80,000-pound vehicle going 35 miles per hour on an interstate where people are going at least 65 to 70. It’s not very safe,” Zirkle said.
Montgomery County is looking at a potential solution to the problem.
Developers want to put a new Love’s Travel Center about a mile away from the current rest stop, just off North Fork Road.
The center would consist of a convenience store, an Arby’s, a truck washing station, and a dog park. It would also create almost 80 parking spots for trucks to stay overnight.
[MORE: Love’s Travel Center could be coming to Montgomery County]
Zirkle is all for another place for truckers to stop.
“Having another big area for them to stop would be helpful along this stretch of the interstate,” he said.
During a public hearing at Monday night’s Board of Supervisors meeting, some residents expressed their concerns ... especially with a church nearby the property.
“Personally, we’re not happy with a truck stop. We would oppose it,” Daniel Reed, a Grace Covenant Tabernacle board member said.
Some residents have concerns about traffic.
“Adding 5,000 more vehicles per day on North Folk Road is gigantic,” Cara Gangloff said.
Some of the board’s concerns focused on signage and lighting.
The board plans to vote on the matter later in March.