Aug. 08–Tractor trailers are accessing the curvy Maxwell Hill residential area of Beckley, causing accidents and raising residents’ concerns for safety, a member of Beckley Common Council said Monday.
Construction of a natural gas pipeline in the area has resulted in more tractor-trailer drivers travelling through Beckley to access Route 19 from the Interstate, Councilman Tom Sopher (Ward I) reported.
“Last week, a tractor trailer passed the center line,” he said, describing an accident that happened when a tractor driver rounded the curve on Pikeview Drive near Young Chow’s, running onto the top of a car.
Sopher said a resident of Rollingwood Drive had reported that vehicles traveling from Pinewood Drive in the Maxwell Hills area strike his fence “a couple times a year.” He had asked if the city would put up a barrier.
Sopher said Tuesday that the curve at Pikeview Drive is a state road. A small sign that intends to direct large rigs away from the road is not clearly visible. Sopher has asked the state for better signage.
He reported that the city has an ordinance against oversized rigs heading down Holliday Drive in Maxwell Hill but that it goes ignored. City attorney Bill File reported Monday that violators can be fined up to $500.
“On this whole issue, I’ve got to be the squeaky wheel,” he said. “That’s the important things. That’s what we should focus on, and it’s not going to get any better with this new Z-Way.”
Sopher said city officials are pursuing better signage through the West Virginia Department of Highways.
Councilwoman-at-Large Sherrie Hunter pointed out that there are dozens of tractor trailers with pipes on the rigs parked behind Harper Mills.
“There’s 60 some that are just ready to roll,” she reported.
She also suggested that city officers could work overtime to enforce warnings to tractor trailer drivers at the bottom of Pinewood Drive.
“If we could just detour these tractor-trailers,” Sopher said. “I was even thinking, if those three pipeline companies that haul this stuff, I was wondering if we could give them a call and say, ‘This is a residential section. We’d really apreciate it if you couldn’t go across there, and if you do, we’re going to give you a ticket, because that road’s not suitable.'”
Beckley Police Chief Lonnie Christian said that pipeline drivers are contracted and probably following GPS directions.
He said any archway could not be placed at the top of Maxwell Hill since it could result in trucks getting stuck at the top of the hill.
“If we put the effort into it, it needs to be at the bottom of Pinewood Drive, there at Market Road,” he said.
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