Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Vacant





For all of my life, the "truckstops" at Exit 150 (which once was Exit 142), served truckers as they drove up and down Interstate 81.

In November, it closed because the state took the property and buildings via eminent domain. The business was in the way of renovations to the exit.

Exit 150 is Botetourt County's main entrance. There are other ways into the county, but unless you're from these parts, you can't find them. Exit 150 is an intersection of Interstate 81, US 220, and US 11, all major highways. The exit has been a problem for all of my adult life, with traffic from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. backing upon onto the interstate and forcing traffic into one lane before they "fixed" the problem in the late 1980s-early 1990s. But the fix was only a bandage, and after the supervisors approved the installation of the Pilot station across the road, the truck traffic became a beacon of congestion. With trucks turning right and left, taking wrong turns, turning around and blocking four lanes at a time, driving at Exit 150 became nigh impossible at times.

That doesn't mean, though, that I think what the state did was right. I don't think the proposed "fix," which begins this spring, will fix the problem. The "fix" includes a roundabout on a major thoroughfare that I fear will create confusion for most drivers and cause an ambulance to be in constant attendance.

Also, closing the truckstop has created a new problem as truckers now gather at the Pilot station, which has much less land and space. Now tractor-trailers back up on US 11 and the police are issuing tickets to force truckers to move on. But truckers are under federal restrictions as to how much they can drive and for how long. They're caught in a bad situation.

The county is losing tax revenue, as well, though it is *not* the vast amounts of money that some citizens believe it to be. Even so, it is some, and in this day and age, every dollar matters if services are to be continued. 

Improvements at Exit 150 have been talked about for 30 years. I hope this time the construction work is more than the bandage that long-ago design proved to be.

2 comments:

  1. I agree, there seems to be no easy solution to the Exit 150 dilemma. I think the next closest truck stop is way up near Staunton on I-81. That's quite an additional distance for those northbound truckers to drive before they can rest.

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  2. What a loss to the community -- especially when the proposed "fix" isn't likely to fix the problem.

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