ALAMANCE COUNTY, N.C. — Paul and Ruth Walker are self-proclaimed county folks. The couple has a nice house on a couple of acres in Alamance County. The property has a large pasture where there are horses and other animals.
“We love it out here,” Ruth Walker said.
The giant porch is perfect for sitting in the rocking chairs and just looking out over the front yard and enjoying the peace and quiet of country living.
The only problem with that is the tranquility that once was the front porch has been inundated with noise coming from big rigs and construction trucks rumbling up and down the road.
“They go up and down this road at all hours of the day and night,” Paul Walker said.
The home sits on Jimmie Kerr Road, and ever since the industrial park was built a few years many truckers use the road as a cut-through to get to the park.
“It’s loud, I mean really loud,” Paul said.
The Walkers tell News 2 they have reached out to the city of Graham, NCDOT, and NC Highway Patrol.
“This has been going on for three years,” Ruth said.
The couple said they have seen a few troopers patrolling the area on occasions, but it hasn’t seemed to help. Calls to NCDOT and the city also didn’t seem to have an impact on the trucker traffic.
“We have tried almost everything, and it didn’t make a difference,” Paul said.
A few months ago, the Walkers contacted News 2, desperate for some relief from the noise and concerned about the safety of drivers sharing the road with truckers and the integrity of the road itself.
The road is not designed for big rigs and there are axel weight limit signs posted to alert drivers of the law.
“The fact is they disobey the law, and no one seems to investigate, it is a frustrating thing,” Ruth said.
Once contacted by the Walkers and other folks that live in the area News 2 reached out to city officials, NCDOT, and NC Highway Patrol.
Officials with both the city and NCDOT tell us they have had conversations with Walmart, Amazon, and Lidle and asked them to direct drivers to use the intended route and avoid Jimmie Kerr Road.
“(We have) been in contact with folks at the distribution centers to encourage them to spread the message to get their drivers to go the intended way out of there,” Aaron Moddy with NCDOT said.
The road is crumbling and cracking in several parts and why you can’t blame that entirely on the truck traffic certainly doesn’t help. There are also several ruts on the side of the road where big rigs must drive to make turns or avoid passing cars.
The cost to repave a 1-mile stretch of road is between $80,000 and $117,000. NCDOT has plans to repave a portion of Cherry Lane which is also used by truckers but as of now, there is no plan to repave Jimmie Kerr Road.
After reaching out to the different agencies and giving them some time to contact the companies involved, we went back to the area to see if it had made a difference. It certainly seemed to us like there was a lot less big rig traffic.
We still noticed several construction trucks but only a few of the 18-wheelers we saw a lot of previously. We then spoke to the people living in the area who also told us they have noticed a significant improvement.
“I think it has helped tremendously, the truck traffic has slowed down,” Paul said.
The North Carolina Highway Patrol plans to monitor the area a bit more during the next few weeks to try and make sure truckers follow the law.
Truckers who break the law can be cited and fined. The fines can run into thousands of dollars depending on the size of the load.
North Carolina Highway Patrol Deputies weighed more than 30,000 vehicles at portable stops in the state last year.