Special Public Hearing Monday, April 28 about the heavy truck traffic through Newbern and your input and support is needed!
The issue: heavy dump trucks and tractor trailers use the short stretch of Wilderness Road through Newbern as a short cut.
The cure: VDOT can post signs prohibiting through trucks from using this section of Wilderness Road past the museum as a short cut. This requires a public hearing and a favorable vote by the Board of Supervisors. Such a requirement will not prohibit trucks making local deliveries or doing local work.
NRHS Members – SHOW UP & SPEAK OUT Protect our Museum
Monday, April 28, 7 PM
Supervisors Meeting Room, Main Level
Pulaski County Administrative Building
143 Third Street NW, Pulaski, Va
If you cannot show up, please call your supervisor before the meeting!
For more information and possible speaking points, see the information below:
On Monday, April 28, a very important public hearing will be held before the Pulaski County Board of Supervisors. The hearing will start at 7:00 PM in the Supervisors meeting room on the main level of the County Administration Building at 143 Third Street NW in Pulaski. The subject is the heavy truck traffic through the historic village of Newbern.
All business is important to Pulaski County. Business means jobs, taxes, and people spending their money in the county. All forms of commerce contribute to a healthy economy. However, the issue of heavy truck traffic (dump trucks and tractor trailers in particular) is not an issue of having to choose one important part of our economy over another. It is rather one of balancing a small concession on the part of the trucking industry against irreparable harm to a community located on a 1.3 stretch of road that was never built to handle such traffic, a community that is suffering physical and economic harm that also affects the best economic interests of the county and its citizens.
Newbern, the ONLY historic ridge village in Pulaski County, is home to the Wilderness Road Regional Museum. Over the past 4 years, substantial changes and improvements to the museum have increased tourist traffic to the museum. Visitors spend time in the museum, visit the old jail site, and walk around the grounds. This stretch of Wilderness Road lies on the 76 Bike Route, a trans-America bike trail that brings hundreds of bicyclists yearly through Newbern. Many stop to see the museum and use its facilities while resting on the grounds. Other new groups of tourists are coming off I-81 to take a break and visit the museum. While here, they also visit local restaurants and gas stations, and frequently head for Draper or Pulaski to visit the Radcliffe. Tourism is growing in the county and it is valuable to our economy. The Wilderness Road Regional Museum is an important part of this growth.
The 1.3 mile stretch of Wilderness Road under consideration is used by trucks as a short cut/no traffic light route to the quarry or to the trucking industry on Newbern Road. They could easily use Rt. 100, which is built for heavy traffic. By cutting through Newbern on this narrow road bordered by houses built over 200 years ago, they create a hazard for bikers, hikers, and local children. This road was never intended to carry this type of traffic. The vibrations from the heavy truck traffic shake the museum (new cracks are emerging in the old plaster) as well as other historic buildings which were mainly built on dry-stack stone with no footers. The traffic is daunting to visitors who cross Wilderness Road on the crosswalk in front of the museum. The trucks do not stop.
There are days and hours when 7-8 trucks pass the museum in rapid succession, making it impossible to have a conversation in the museum with visitors or during a meeting. Bikers pull off the road, pedestrians jump back, cars pull over to let them pass, and no one can comfortably use the road. The quarry, being a good neighbor and an important business in Pulaski County, posted a sign asking truckers not to use the stretch of Wilderness Road through Newbern. This was moderately successful for a short time but is now ignored. Moreover, it is not the job of the quarry to police the actions of independent truck drivers.
Newbern is a designated Historic District that has been enjoying rejuvenation over the past few years. It is a precious asset for all citizens of Pulaski County. The museum holds some of the most precious artifacts representing our early history, and the archives are extensive, well known, and frequently used. Visitors who have roots anywhere in the area come to Newbern to research their families, and with the organization currently under way by Tal Stanley of Emory and Henry, those records are now more organized and easier to research. The documents collection is even more extensive than previously thought, and is quite impressive for such a small museum and community.
Are dump trucks and tractor trailers important to our economy? Absolutely, and vitally so. However, asking tractor trailers and dump trucks to by-pass the narrow road through historic Newbern does not substantially damage their interests or the economy. Allowing them to continue running through Newbern, Pulaski County’s only historic village, does substantially damage not only the economic interests of the citizens of Newbern: it damages Newbern and the museum as a drawing card for tourists, cyclists and hikers. The Wilderness Road Regional Museum benefits and belongs to us all, and it and Newbern deserve this modest form of protection. The economic interests associated with this far outweigh closing a 1.3 mile stretch of road to through heavy truck traffic.