Citizens living along a highway in West Virginia are being told that there’s nothing officials can do about the trucks traveling legally on the roadway.
Residents in Marshall County, West Virginia living near Route 88 say that the road has become overrun by semi trucks in the last few years, causing traffic and safety concerns along the winding, narrow stretch of highway. Long-time residents say an increase in oil and gas related facilities in the area seem to be a main contributor in the increase in traffic.
“We have lived here 43 years, and there is no doubt the traffic has gotten so much worse since the oil and gas industry has come through here,” said Janet Kendzierski, who lives along the road.
Not only are residents bothered by the traffic itself, but they say they often feel unsafe driving near and around these trucks, as the road is narrow, winding, and generally small in comparison to the trucks driving it.
“A lot of trucks can’t stay left of center,” said Angeline Robertson, another concerned citizen. “Most days coming home from work, I am met by a truck with the entire tire length on my side of the road.”
“It seems like every time we turn around, there is another accident has been caused by it, and it’s getting scary,” Kendzierski continued.
“If they [motorists] met a truck at a bad turn, a horrible thing could happen,” Robertson added to WTOV 9 News.
Local officers have responded to the complaints by increasing patrols in the area, but Marshall County Sheriff, Bill Helms, says that the trucks are allowed on the roadway, and a large majority are hauling, traveling, and operating legally, so there is nothing really to be done.
“We understand and fully recognize the problem, and I’ll tell you what, folks in the county have no problem reaching out to me,” Helms said.
“We have opened up overtime, in addition to our regular patrols and one of our deputies pays attention to detail. That is all he does for that block of hours he or she is out,” Helms continued, adding that the trucks are technically not speeding, even though legal speeds may appear scary to residents driving on such narrow and winding roads.
“These big trucks, once they get moving, it looks and appears much faster than what they really are,” he said.
“As long as they’re hauling legal loads, or have a permit to haul oversized loads, there is not really much we can do in that regard,” West Virginia Division of Highways District 6 Engineer Tony Clark said.