Construction firms propose truck-only lanes, tolls in VA

| Friday, January 17, 2003

A proposal by a group of highway construction companies calls for Virginia to create truck-only lanes along I-81 and then force truckers to pay tolls to use the lanes, The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.

The group, called Star Solutions, released a poll of residents who live near I-81, indicating they favor the road widening and sticking truckers with the bill.

The plan calls for the road to become eight lanes wide with certain lanes designated for trucks only.

The poll and its conclusions were quickly attacked by businesses along the highway and other opponents of the plan.

"If the public knew that cars separated from trucks just means a 4-foot rumble strip and that trucks are going to have to cross over two lanes of passenger traffic to enter and exit the highway, I think they, too, will say no thanks," Jay Smith, spokesman for an opposition group known as Smart Solutions, told the newspaper.

The poll also found residents don’t believe moving some freight from truck to rail will ease traffic woes along the heavily traveled interstate.

The Star Solutions proposal is scheduled for submission to the Virginia Department of Transportation Jan. 17.

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