HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Some residents in Henrico say they’re tired of the truck traffic and they fear for their safety. They believe they have a way to put the brakes on it and it’s all in a name.
“The problem is there are six streets in this area that are named White Oak,” says Henrico resident Stewart Goodwin.
You see, Goodwin says tractor trailers are trucking down rural White Oak Road where she lives.
However, the tractor trailers are supposed to be making deliveries to a Lumber Liquidators Distribution Center located on nearby White Oak Creek Drive.
The name is very similar to rural White Oak Road
“Eighteen-wheelers have been coming down this extremely narrow, two-lane road, that is unforgiving because there is no shoulder,” explained Goodwin.
The big rigs are damaging property and sometimes they get stuck. “They have been running vehicles off the road, they have been hitting mailboxes,” says Goodwin.
The similar street names are confusing truckers and their GPS systems. Henrico County put up big yellow signs that read “ignore GPS,” but it’s not working says, Goodwin.
“They’re following their GPS and completely ignoring the huge, yellow school bus, yellow signs at the end of White Oak,” says Goodwin.
Henrico Police say that’s what they’ve been told too. “Just listening to their excuses, you just think why did you continue to drive? They’re only concern was making that delivery,” says Henrico Police Lieutenant RG Netherland.
He says they’ve tried educating the truckers, reaching out Lumber Liquidators, and enforcement. It’s actually illegal for the trucks to be on the road, a county ordinance prohibits the big rigs. “The weight restriction is 75-hundred pounds,” says Netherland.
Netherland told 8News last year Henrico police spent more than 250 man hours patrolling White Oak Road. Yet, when police pull out, the truckers move back in.
“From the law enforcement side of things it’s pretty tough, we can’t be out there 24 hours, seven days a week,” he says.
Netherland says County efforts like the ‘ignore GPS’ signs and police patrols have reduced some of the truck traffic in recent years. Although, Stewart keeps a count. She recorded 170 trucks on the curvy road in 2017, 72 last year.
The route truckers are supposed to drive is to get off Interstate 64 take 295 to Route 60. From Route 60 they are then supposed to turn on to Technology Boulevard and make a left into White Oak Creek Drive
“So the solution to the problem is to change the name of White Oak Creek Drive so they won’t come down White Oak Road,” says Goodwin. Henrico Police hands are tied with that.
“Unfortunately, we don’t have any control over the names of the roads.”
8News reached out to the County Commissioner for that area, Tyrone Nelson. He says he’s aware of the issue and county leaders have been trying to address it.
He tells us he plans to bring up the idea of changing the name of the road with the county manager. Stewart says it’s a safety matter.
“A truck just last week ran off the side of the road, my fear is that I am going to have an 18-wheeler come into my yard and possible strike my house.”
One other possible solution that neighbors believe could help is to open a gate at Elko Road and allow trucks to access White Oak Creek Drive from Elko Road. In the meantime, police say they will continue to patrol the area.