The Associated Press reported that state police issued more than 30 speeding citations to truckers on Sandstone Mountain in Berkeley, W.Va., before noon Wednesday during a crackdown on the 7-percent grade. The speed limit on the mountain is 45 mph for trucks and 70 mph for passenger vehicles. Some of the rigs were speeding down the steep grade at more than 70 miles an hour, State Police 1st Sgt. R.L. Seacrist, told the AP.
"The majority of them are from out of state. Most of your commercial trucks are just passing through. I've seen several of them coming down here and their brakes just a smoking," Seacrist said.
Truckers aren't the only ones speeding down the steep grade. State Police issued at least 70 tickets Wednesday to drivers of passenger vehicles. All were traveling at least 80 mph, with some clocked as high as 93, according to Seacrist.
Speed limit signs are posted at the top of the grade near the Bragg exit, along with an Intelligence Transportation System electronic sign displaying the speed limit. The ITS sign also has a sensor that, when triggered by a passing truck, determines the vehicle's speed and displays it.
A Department of Transportation Official told the AP that the high number of speeding trucks shows the need for a mandatory pull-off at the top of the grade, which is scheduled to be completed this summer.
A mandatory pull-off already has been constructed on Cheat Mountain, a stretch of I-68 that also has a 7 percent grade. The pull-offs are intended for truckers to stop and check their brakes before descending the grade, but many truckers have been using the Cheat Mountain site to stop and snooze, preventing others from using it for its intended purpose.