Reality Check: Why do trucks keep going on a dirt road only to get stuck?
BUNCOMBE COUNTY, N.C. (WLOS) —
People living along one mountain road say stuck trucks are blocking traffic in their neighborhood, sometimes for hours.
The problem occurs at the edge of Buncombe County near the McDowell and Rutherford county lines. There is a hairpin curve on Cedar Creek Road and two more hairpin turns on Old Fort Road. Cedar Creek Road has signs saying "Trucks not recommended," and the roads accessing Cedar Creek have flashing yellow signs banning trucks, but truck drivers continue to travel this route and get stuck.
When News 13 went to check out the area, crews found DOT workers putting up signs to prevent cars from going into a ditch off of Cedar Creek. There was also a truck stuck in the curve.
"He tried backing down," the worker said.
The truck driver couldn't get out because his trailer bottomed out. How he got on the road was simple.
"My GPS sent me out here," said the truck driver.
Why that happens is more complicated, but first we should explain why the DOT happened to be there. The workers were putting signs back up that a truck took out five days earlier.
"There's nothing new about this," Freeman Jones said.
News 13 was on the scene when that truck got stuck, too. The mangled metal signs sit in Jones' yard.
"This is a constant situation," he said.
When one of the three spots get blocked, it takes people an extra 15 miles to get into town.
"I have an appointment at 11 that I'm going to miss," said one neighbor while a truck blocked the road.
People coming back from town can't get home if they arrive to a stuck truck.
"I have walked home before and just came back to get my vehicle later," said Charles Smith, who lives near one of the curves on Old Fort Road.
When a truck gets stuck it takes hours for a wrecker to move the truck. Jones said he didn't know where the truck routes start, but he knows where they frequently stop.
"Plop," Jones said as he pointed to the curve on Cedar Creek Road.
Highway Patrol said it can't track how many times in the last year a truck has gotten stuck here, but neighbors estimate it usually happens about once a month.
"Eventually this is going to be a disaster, because there's going to be a fire, or a medical emergency, or whatever and they can't get to it. That's my problem with it," Jones said.
Drivers think the route is a short cut. The second truck driver said he was trying to get to I-40 from Lake Lure. He said he knew he was in trouble.
"I just kept going and going and going, and I couldn't find anything to turn around," the driver said.
His phone's GPS took him to Cedar Creek. Jones said that's the problem.
"The real honest-to-god companies have their own real honest-to-god truck driver GPS systems, but these guys don't," Jones said.
Jones said he owns the land around the curve on Cedar Creek and would donate it for the DOT to widen the road. Other neighbors said the DOT needs to make the signs on Cedar Creek stricter. The DOT suggested people call law enforcement when they see trucks on the road. The DOT says it's illegal for a truck to be there if the driver is not making a local delivery.