Hundreds of Truckers Were Stranded at W.Va. Rest Stop
Cherie C./FoursquareInside the Beckley, W.Va., Travel Plaza the afternoon of Jan. 23, truckers stood around drinking coffee, trading battle stories of past adventures driving the big rigs.
There were stories of being stuck in flooding in the south, snowstorms in the Rockies, running low on gas coming through the desert and horror tales of “rollerskaters,” motorists driving four-wheel vehicles.
”They think the road belongs to them,” said one trucker of “rollerskaters.”
But there was another gripe on the truckers’ mind Jan. 23, their unofficial axiom: If your wheels ain’t turning, you ain’t making money. With portions of Interstates 77 and 79 closed and West Virginia under a state of emergency, wheels were not turning.
Hundreds of truckers were parked at the travel plaza the last couple of days as Winter Storm Jonas bombarded the region with more than a foot of snow in two days. The truckers were restless, antsy and ready to hit the interstate to deliver their haul to destinations from the East Coast to the Midwest.
While many were not happy with being stranded, they knew of the consequences. Between 150 and 200 tractor-trailers were stuck on Interstate 77 north of Charleston the night of Jan. 22, causing a portion of the highway to close for several hours.
”I want to get back on the road, but it’s safety first,” said James Hudgins, who was hauling tons of frozen food from Virginia Beach, Va., to Seymour, Ind.
Hudgins said independent truckers lose money when stranded by bad weather because they don’t meet their delivery target. Many agreements have clauses, docking them for missing a delivery time.
Not only does bad weather cause them to stop moving, it often slows truckers down to about 35 miles per hour in mountainous areas such as southern West Virginia.
”Thirty-five, it’s slow and easy,” said another trucker, Patrick Miles, who was on a short run transporting chemicals from Roanoke, Va., to Charleston before becoming stranded in Beckley.
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|By Daniel Tyson|
The (Beckley, W.Va.) Register-Herald
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