MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The entrance ramp at Tabler Station Road that saw a four-vehicle accident Sunday was already the scene of other crashes in the few weeks since Interstate 81 northbound lanes in Berkeley County were reconfigured June 28th.
Construction in the area has been part of a years’ long effort to add travel lanes to the heavily traveled road, which has seen an increase of truck traffic as manufacturers such as Procter and Gamble and warehouse facilities like Amazon have moved in to the area.
When traffic was switched to travel on the newly-built two lanes, late last month, the northbound on-ramp lost its merge area. Instead, drivers trying to enter the northbound lanes have to wait at a yield sign. Their visibility is hampered by jersey walls lining the on-ramp. During heavy traffic periods on the interstate, the yield sign effectively becomes a stop sign.
Local tractor trailer driver Sean Gillaspie travels the road for work. He says it’s not safe:
“Right now they way they have the entrance ramps down here on (Interstate) 81 at the Tabler Station Road set up there’s no way people can get out of there without getting killed or run over. It’s totally dangerous,” he said on a recent appearance on MetroNews Affiliate The Panhandle News Network.
He cautions drivers to pay attention and understand big rigs with heavy loads can’t stop quickly:
“People think that when an entrance ramp runs out that we have to slam on the brakes and let them on the highway. That yield sign is up there for a reason. We cannot do that. This truck weighs 27,000 pounds and the load that I have in the back of it now is 51,000 pounds. So you figure that up – that’s right at 80,000 pounds. You cannot stop that on a dime like regular vehicles can.”
The last three days alone have seen extended backups each day on that stretch of the interstate because of issues at the Exit 8 entrance ramp.
Gillaspie was a recent guest on Panhandle Live, heard weekday mornings at 9 a.m. on https://panhandlenewsnetwork.com/