Supervisor wants truck traffic stopped

Published 8:00 am Thursday, April 21, 2022

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Lunenburg County Supervisor Edward Pennington is on a mission to eliminate large truck traffic on Mecklenburg Avenue and says he will push the issue until something is done.

“Those trucks don’t belong on that road, and this has to stop,” Pennington said during the monthly Board of Supervisors (BOS) meeting on Thursday, Apr. 14. “I have great concerns about this. I’ve been talking about this since last year and I will continue to talk about it until something happens.”

Pennington said large trucks, in particular trash trucks going to and from the landfill, and speed is the issue.

Following Pennington’s address, Supervisor Mike Hankins suggested contacting the Sheriff’s Department to have them begin issuing tickets. “Until it’s costing the company or drivers money, it may not stop,” Hankins said.

According to County Attorney Frank Rennie, the county can put Meridian Waste, the operators of the landfill, on notice that having trucks traveling on Mecklenburg Avenue is a violation of the conditional use permit, which could result in cease of operations if the actions continue.

Speed has been such an issue on Mecklenburg Avenue that the Town of Victoria recently installed a driver feedback speed limit sign Apr. 1.

One of Pennington’s major concerns is that Mecklenburg Avenue is not a designated route for trash trucks en route to the landfill.

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.

“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 heavily residential area with children. Sooner or later, it is going to be a major issue.”

The issue was first brought to light when citizen Patricia Harper-Tunley presented a petition to the Board requesting a through truck restriction sign be erected at the July BOS meeting. “The trucks are moving at a high rate of speed through a fully populated residential area, noise levels have increased, and the roads are showing stress areas from the constant travel of the oversized, fully-loaded trucks,” Harper-Tunley said during that meeting. “The possibility of an accident involving loss of life or limbs is an imminent threat to this neighborhood of predominantly African American residents.”

Since that time, VDOT has conducted a traffic study but found that 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.