|THE DRAGON IN PRINT NEWS 2005:|
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Truck ban on portion of 129 also supported
By ROBERT WILSON, firstname.lastname@example.org
In a meeting that rambled around the agenda, the commission also approved a resolution supporting a ban on all trucks with 16 or more wheels from a portion of U.S. Highway 129 from
The road section includes an 11-mile stretch known as The Dragon, which has 318 curves and is popular with motorcyclists and sports car enthusiasts.
The proposed ban came from W.T. "Ted" Phillips, CEO of Phillips & Jordan Inc., a
Phillips addressed commissioners Thursday night. He said he forbade his truck drivers from taking that route more than five years ago for safety reasons.
"Some of our trailers are 55 feet long," Phillips said. "There's no way you can drive that road and stay on your own side of the road."
Phillips, in an interview before the meeting, said his company has an office in
His fear, he says, is that the people who come "from all over the country" to drive the road for recreational purposes will be killed or injured by coming around a curve too fast and slamming into a tractor-trailer that cannot negotiate the turn without crossing the center line.
Phillips said he sought the commission's support to bolster his efforts to have federal highway officials forbid the trucks.
"It's a safety hazard," Phillips said. In response to a question from Commissioner Steve Hargis, he admitted that taking an alternate route to Robbinsville nearly triples the mileage.
With the commission's vote, Phillips said he will take the issue to U.S. Rep. John J. Duncan Jr., R-Knoxville, who has promised to pursue it with federal highway officials.
Dragon claims victim
Part of the reason may be that there were Tennessee Highway Patrolmen stationed every two miles in the area of the Dragon and a THP helicopter was used to monitor the situation.
by Thomas Fraser Of The Daily Times Staff