Farmville needs a truck route

Published 4:34 pm Wednesday, October 17, 2018


As a resident in the Farmville area, I have observed many times with amazement that the beautiful downtown section of our town is impacted negatively by the lack of a truck route to divert heavy truck traffic away from the Main Street & Third Street intersection. As a heavy truck owner and driver for over 45 years, I shake my head every time I witness a driver attempting to navigate a turn from Main Street to Third Street or drive logging trucks, fuel tanker trucks and long trailer (53’) trucks through downtown Farmville. There is no reason or excuse for this daily example of very poor planning and coordination in our town and county.

I’ve had a couple of off the record discussions with several local leaders and have been informed that solving this problem is too large for our town and would require VDOT and Virginia State General Assembly action, which is viewed as an impossible obstacle instead of a new challenge to overcome. Designing a truck route that allows heavy traffic to choose a route around and away from downtown benefits everyone. As a driver who has experienced the worst of road conditions, I will say no driver wants to be driving a “big rig” though downtown, additionally the visitors and business community downtown do not want heavy trucks transiting Main Street and Third Street. The solution to this problem does not involve rocket science, just a will to accept the challenge of designing a traffic solution and then pursuing the governmental and financial support to build the roadwork.

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After returning from my tour in Vietnam with the Marines, I lived in Alaska for 30 years. There I witnessed and participated in numerous construction projects that make great examples of overcoming unbelievable challenges. These oil field and civil construction endeavors were located in the most harsh and environmentally fragile environment in America. When the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) was approved in 1974, the private sector (consortium of oil production companies) Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, constructed 384 miles of access road through the wilderness, starting with crossing the Yukon River, then crossing hundreds of rivers/streams, crossing the Brooks Range mountains via Atigun Pass and across the tundra to the North Slope Prudhoe Bay oil field.

All of the access road construction was completed in eight months, may I say again, completed in eight months time. This is what happens when a challenge is accepted, met and overcome. In Farmville I hear from local leaders that building a couple of miles of road around Farmville is just an impossible task. I disagree with this conclusion and know this project can be accomplished, providing Farmville with a safer and more enjoyable downtown.

John Arsenault