West Virginia To Build Weigh Station At Top Of Steep Hill
August 30, 1999
West Virginia is building a mandatory truck stopping area and weigh station at the top of a steep Interstate 68 grade.
The stop will let drivers check their brakes and learn about potential problems at the bottom of the steep hill.
The five-mile stretch has been the site of several accidents. Last Wednesday, Florida trucker Keith Walker lost his brakes on the grade. He survived by jumping out of his cab only moments before it plunged into a cab between the east and westbound lane bridges at the bottom of the hill and burst into flames. He was hospitalized with a crushed wrist.
Walker's brakes were working when he pumped them as he headed west down the mountain. "The next thing I know, I press on it and there's nothing. Then I punched down, and nothing. Then I pulled the emergency brake, and nothing."
On Thursday, a jury awarded more than $1 million to the estate of a man killed in 1997 on the same stretch of road in a wreck involving four vehicles, two of them tractor-trailers.
The new weigh station is expected to be open in about a year. In the meantime, state senator Jon Blair Hunter is proposing to reduce the speed limit for trucks on the mountain from 50 mph to 40 mph, and for cars from 70 mph to 55 mph.