Counties debate truck ban on road

Some Warren County leaders say too many tractor-trailers travel Reliance Road but Frederick County officials remain unconvinced.

Members of the Frederick County Board of Supervisors’ Transportation Committee met earlier this week to consider Warren County’s proposal to prohibit tractor-trailers from using Reliance Road between U.S. 340-522 and Interstate 81.

Warren County supervisors agreed at a work session last month to hold a public hearing on the proposed restriction. The Virginia Department of Transportation has advised those supervisors that Frederick County must concur with the proposal in order for the restriction to move forward because Reliance Road ends at I-81 to the west. Approximately 1.3 miles of Reliance Road is in Frederick County.

The Frederick County committee asked John Bishop, assistant director for transportation in the Planning Department, to request more information from Warren County pertaining to truck traffic on Reliance Road.

“We’re looking for some data in terms of not only actual numbers – where the splits are, where’s traffic coming from, going to … but also kinda what sponsored the request,” Bishop said Wednesday. “Are you getting citizen complaints and that sort of thing, because we haven’t.”

Frederick County officials want the information before the Transportation Committee considers the proposal and makes a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors.

“Typically, these things, at least as far as us, come out through citizen concerns and that sort of thing,” Bishop said. “People who live out there start to see a proliferation of such things and follow up with us to see if there’s something we can do.

“We haven’t gotten that so far,” Bishop added. “It doesn’t mean it’s not an issue. It just means I haven’t received any complaints.”

Warren County considered a restriction on all truck traffic on Reliance Road in 2006. But the county needed to find an alternate route for trucks. The county couldn’t choose Interstate 66 as an alternative route because trucks, particularly those hauling gravel from a quarry near Strasburg, cannot use their 5 percent overweight permits on interstates as they can on Reliance Road. Potential alternatives explain that state Route 55 through Strasburg or Fairfax Pike through Stephens City could direct more trucks through the two urban areas and likely would face opposition from residents.

Frederick County officials also are studying the possible impact that restrictions might cause.

“That’s one thing we always try and look at very carefully is what could be potential, unintended consequences,” Bishop said. “Traffic tends to find a way, so if there are fairly easy alternatives, people will use them so we do have to be careful about that.”

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com.

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