Neighbors say tractor trailers making Catawba Rd. dangerous

By Rob Manch - Reporter
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BOTETOURT COUNTY (WSLS 10) - For one stretch of road in Botetourt County, neighbors say tractor trailer traffic has become a serious issue.

That stretch of Catawba Road is narrow, unmarked, full of curves, and last week was the site of a nasty accident.

Neighbors say it's not surprising, given how treacherous the road is to drive, but they're afraid nothing is going to be done about the situation until somebody dies.

That's something they say is only a matter of time.

Ron Heavner says Catawba Road isn't like it was when he first moved there.

"Botetourt County has grown. I am seeing more and more tractor trailers up and down this road," said Heavner.

A road that he says isn't fit for that kind of traffic.

Last week, he says one woman almost paid the price for it.

"Last week, we had a lady get hit. Out of town trucker, GPS tells him it's ok to come around this road, we've got many hidden curves on this road. He goes around the curve and hits a lady," said Heavner.

"I went down there. That lady, she was scared plum to death because that tractor almost run her over. The back wheels on the trailer caught her," said Rick Spurlock, who also lives nearby.

Spurlock says the truck traffic continues to be a danger for him, whether he's driving or not.

"I've got to cut grass right there close to the road, and I've been about hit a few times cutting grass," said Spurlock.

Heavner says he has contacted VDOT about the issue.

He says if someone wants to come see for themselves, the evidence of the problem is in his front yard.

"I've got a 60 foot rut out here where they dropped the wheels of the tractor trailer off all the time. They took out my mailbox, my mail went blowing through the valley. I actually contacted the post office and moved my mailbox so that lady wouldn't get rear-ended out here," said Heavner.

VDOT says it has received a work order to study the road for problems.

Heavner says that only gives him a small comfort.

"It takes six weeks to do a traffic study. Hopefully if that happens, and something does come positive out of it, somebody doesn't get killed between now and then, because it don't take six weeks to come out here and put up a sign," said Heavner.

VDOT says, in its study, it will consider the history of traffic use on the road, the issues trucks have on the road, any and all safety issues, and why they're using it in the first place.

VDOT says that study is in the preliminary stages and, as Heavner predicted, could take several weeks.

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