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|12-05-2014, 06:00 PM||#1|
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Road Safety: Big Rig Trucks Banned from Tail of the Dragon
The 11-mile mountain pass known as Deals Gap is now void of one major hazard. After a lengthy investigation and review of the safety issues involved, the Tennessee Department of Transportation has determined that vehicles over 30 feet in length will no longer be allowed to utilize the mountainous section of US 129 (SR 115) in Blount County, known as “The Dragon.”
Hopefully the DOT's big-rig ban on US 129 will mean fewer ornaments on the Tree of Shame.
From 2010 to 2012, there were 204 total crashes from the Tennessee/North Carolina State Line to Tabcat Bridge (Log Mile 11.19) in Blount County, with six of those involving fatalities. This is considered a critical number of crashes based on the type of road and number of vehicles per day on this facility. 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. TDOT 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 (NC) County Line.
CLICK HERE for more features on the Tail of the Dragon.
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