Vehicles longer than 30 feet, including trucks, will soon be banned from a mountainous section of eastern Tennessee roadway, due to a high number of crashes over a three-year period.
The decision by the state transportation department affects a stretch of US 129/State Route 115 in Blount County, south of Knoxville, known as “The Dragon,” that sits along the western edge of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
“This is considered a critical number of crashes based on the type of road and number of vehicles per day on this facility,” said the Tennessee DOT. “While only one of the fatal crashes involved a tractor trailer, there were a number of incidents involving large trucks. Due to the curvy and narrow roadway, incidents involving tractor-trailers usually block the highway for several hours and prevent travel for all motorists.”
Signage detailing these restrictions will be installed in mid-January. The state DOT said it has coordinated these efforts with the Tennessee Highway Patrol and Blount County law enforcement.
North Carolina has similar restrictions for truck traffic on US 129 from the Tennessee/North Carolina State Line to the Graham, North Carolina county line. Up until now Tennessee only posted signs warning truckers of switchback turns on the route, according to one published report.