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Albemarle supervisors will consider in March whether to ban through trucks on a 3.1 mile section of Earlysville Road between Woodlands Road and Dickerson Road.
“Truck traffic would have to go down U.S. 29 to Airport Road and then up Dickerson onto Earlysville Road,” said Gerald Gatobu, the county’s transportation planner.
The idea is opposed by representatives of Rockydale Quarries, a company that operates a facility on Rio Mills Road.
“We produce construction aggregates at that location, and that’s important for economic development in the region, and the quarry is wholly dependent on trucks for delivery for their product to the end user,” said Vice President David Willis.
“The plan to close to truck traffic is literally going to double time, double cost and put more traffic on U.S. 29,” said Tom Wharton, a sales manager.
Several dozen residents of Earlysville Road have signed a petition asking for the restrictions to be imposed.
“I haven’t had anybody say that they don’t agree with the petition,” said William Tomlin. “Listen to all the evidence and all the public comments and please approve moving this forward to the state, who has the final authority.”
Four criteria must be met before Virginia Department of Transportation will allow restrictions to be placed on a road.
One of them is that an alternate route must be proven to be a reasonable replacement option. Gatobu said trucks still would be able to use Earlysville Road to get to Dickerson Road to eventually reach U.S. 29.
Rockydale’s quarry on Rio Mills Road was closed for many years but reopened in 2011 soon after the company purchased the land.
Gatobu said there have been several incidents where drivers were run off the road by wide trucks that don’t fit on Earlysville Road.
“Based on VDOT criteria, the road is actually supposed to have at least 12-foot-wide lanes but in some areas, it’s only 10 or 11 feet,” Gatobu said. “There are supposed to be six-feet shoulders, but in most areas there are none.”
Several supervisors wanted to understand the definition of a truck.
“A 14-foot box truck doesn’t seem to be in the same category as a 40-foot tractor-trailer,” said Supervisor Norman Dill.
“We have a whole series of roads and infrastructure that was designed for the horse and buggy,” Randolph said. “I think it would be helpful for us to know how many other connector roads in Albemarle County have inadequate [infrastructure].”
Supervisor Ann H. Mallek has been campaigning for the restrictions for several years and said she was skeptical this would lead to similar requests.
“I do not think that in the years I’ve been working on this that anyone else has come forward asking for this,” Mallek said. “If you do not have an alternative route easily available, you cannot do this.”
Mallek also pointed out that trucks still can make deliveries to homes and businesses in the affected area.
The public hearing will be held March 9.
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