Truck traffic limited says VDOT

Published 6:39 pm Thursday, October 21, 2021

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Following citizen concerns about large trucks passing through Mecklenburg Avenue in Victoria at a high rate of speed and a request from the Lunenburg County Board of Supervisors, VDOT has completed a traffic study of Route 734.

According to the recent VDOT traffic study, during a seven-day traffic count between Sept. 7 and Sept. 14, 2,556 vehicles traveled on Mecklenburg Avenue. Of that, only 2% was commercial traffic.

According to a 2019 and 2020 traffic count by VDOT, there was less than 2% significant truck traffic on Mecklenburg Avenue.

Supervisors Edward Pennington spoke of the large trash truck traffic that continues to be seen during the Thursday, Oct. 14, Board of Supervisors meeting after hearing of the report.

“The truck drivers are disregarding the truck route and we have to take some type of action,” Pennington said. “It is putting a strain on that road and weakening it, and that is a heavy residential area with children. Sooner or later, it is going to be a major issue.”

Currently, trash trucks en route to and from the Lunenburg Landfill are advised to take one of two authorized truck routes. Mecklenburg Avenue is not on either of those routes.

Supervisor Mike Hankins inquired about asking if the Sheriff’s Department and town police department could patrol that area and begin issuing tickets to large truck drivers who choose to use Mecklenburg Avenue as a route.

Pennington then asked about designating the area as a prohibited truck route and installing signage so that drivers would be aware.

“It’s a residential area, and they are coming through there at 45 mph, and it is a 25 mph speed limit,” Pennington said.

At the July Board of Supervisors meeting, citizen Patricia Harper-Tunley presented a petition to the Board requesting a through truck restriction sign be erected.

“The trucks are moving at a high rate of speed through a fully populated residential area, noise levels increased, and the roads are showing stress areas from the constant travel of the oversized, fully-loaded trucks,” Harper-Tunley said. “The possibility for an accident that would involve loss of life or limbs is an imminent threat to this neighborhood of predominantly African American residents.”

As part of the Through Truck Restriction Program, localities can request that VDOT evaluate certain routes for the need to post signage that restricts through trucks (trucks with no stops along the roadway) from using the route.

“In this case, both the Town of Victoria and Lunenburg County would need to pass resolutions requesting the restriction, as the route needs to have logical start/end points and must have a viable alternate route from the initial point of restriction. This alternate route would likely travel into both localities.” Bethanie Glover, Richmond District communications manager for VDOT, said.

According to Glover, if the localities hold public meetings and come to a unanimous decision to request a through truck restriction, VDOT then has nine months to respond to the request with a final decision.