Trucks banned from road in Montgomery and Roanoke counties

Roanoke County supervisors say tractor-trailers caused several crashes

By Rob Manch - Reporter

ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. - Roanoke County is banning tractor-trailers from using both Mount Tabor Road and Newport Road. This comes after several accident on the roads.

The county says truckers' GPS takes them to the road by mistake, but now if that happens the driver will face a fine.

There's one turn in particular on the road known as "Dead Man's Curve." That's where most of the big vehicles get stuck, and when that happens, it can prevent people living there from getting to work, or even worse, could keep emergency services from getting to someone in a crisis.

For the past 40 years, Bonnie Triplett has lived near "Dead Man's Curve" and seen her fair share of accidents.

"We constantly hear people hit the guard rail. I personally have known of three different tractor-trailers who have been wedged between the rocks there," Triplett said.

The pictures she's taken tell it all. Trucks that get stuck in place she says for more than five hours at a time.

"Very often people are driving on the wrong side of the road at the curves, so yes it's very dangerous," Triplett said.

Another woman, Dr. Tina Smusz, a physician, who lives on the road says those wrecks have cost her in a crisis.

"I've been stopped from getting to work when I was called in for an emergency because they needed more doctors all of a sudden, when there was a large truck stuck on that curve," Smusz said.

Supervisors unanimously agreed Tuesday that something had to be done. Board Chair Joe McNamara says it's become a bigger problem since the invention of smartphones.

"What happens is, when there's backups, their GPS is taking them on the road and it's a very unsafe situation. It's not a good situation for them, and they end up on their side and they end up stuck and it creates more problems," McNamara said.

Now, Mcnamara says VDOT will provide signs to warn truckers not to come down the windy pass, and police will enforce fines on those who do. Neighbors say, it's not the end of their problems, but at least for now, their concerns are shifting to a lower gear.

"There are always people that think they know better than the officials and the signs, but it should help enormously," Smusz said.

Homeowners say another concern that could be coming for them in the future involves the Mountain Valley Pipeline. The project is expected to cross Mount Tabor Road and they're worried when that happens, large trucks might come with it. Several people have already submitted their concerns in writing to the county.

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