Turned-around tractor-trailers have repeatedly caused destruction at housing estate
Residents of Thistledown Estates, a housing development on Thistledown Lane, off Toms Run Road, say wayward tractor trailers are steadily degrading their community.
Amy Brown, president of the Thistledown Estates Homeowner Association, said an increasing number of trucks get turned around either trying to get from I-79 to the Pilot Travel Center at the Goshen Road exit, or vice versa.
“They turn onto Toms Run, and they look at their GPS and see a big loop through our neighborhood,” she said.
“Little by little, they’ve completely demolished our entrance and our roads. Our speed humps all had to be replaced because they’ve been crushed or had huge gouges taken out of them. We’ve had private property destroyed because they try to go through the neighborhood to get turned around and can’t make the turn, and end up tearing up yards. The sides of our roads get crushed, and we end up having to repair that.”
Brown said decorative walls that stood at the development’s entrance have been struck and partially torn down.
When possible — for instance, when the truck becomes stuck or a resident can flag the driver down — insurance information is collected. Brown said multiple incident reports have been filed with the sheriff’s department.
The Thistledown Estates Board of Directors has reached out to the Monongalia County Commission for assistance.
In particular, the development would like better signage directing drivers to the Pilot station and back to the interstate as well as speed control on Smithtown Road for vehicles leaving the Pilot station and signage prohibiting trucks from entering Toms Run.
A letter to the commission points out that once a truck enters Toms Run, the only options are to back up to Smithtown Road or attempt to turn around in the development.
Commissioner Tom Bloom said he’s passed their concerns to personnel with DOH’s District 4 office.
Brown estimated there are 80 homes in Thistledown Estates and another 30 in a second development that can only be accessed via Thistledown Lane.
Because it is a private development, the cost of road repairs is taken on by the property owners.
“We’ve talked about rebuilding the entrance, because it looks horrible,” she said. “What’s it doing to our property values? That’s a huge concern. We’ve talked about building a gate. It’s not something we want to do. We just don’t feel like there’s any other option. It’s constant now. It’s increased to a point where we can’t even keep up with it.”
Aaron Stevens, acting maintenance engineer and design engineer for DOH District 4 said the DOH is aware of the problem and noted Thistledown Lane is not a state road.
“We installed directional signs up to 79 at the entrance of Toms Run, and put double yellow centerline at the base of Toms Run,” Stevens explained.