Public Works Director shares truckflow data in the Kings Hwy area

Published 5:34 pm Friday, September 8, 2023

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In the City Council meeting held on Sept. 6, Director of Public Works Robert Lewis delivered a presentation on the recent truck traffic findings within the Kings Highway area. This staff report included initial observations conducted on Driver Lane, detailed explanations of truck classifications, and provided valuable recommendations for the future. Council members had the opportunity to review and discuss these findings, making it a crucial step in addressing traffic-related concerns in the community.

“We have never stopped dealing with traffic, monitoring traffic, and working with businesses this entire time over the last year, year and a half,” Lewis said. “It kind of really kicked off with Amazon and has never slowed, and we continue with staff to work with that.”

The presentation first detailed truck classifications regarding spacing and weight. Based on the Gridsmart system, classification of medium trucks are defined as “vehicles with a length between 24’-35.’” The Wavetronix system classifies vehicles with a length between 23’-45’ as medium trucks also. Examples of medium trucks are “dump trucks, cement mixers, emergency vehicles, box trucks, and buses.”

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For heavy trucks, the Gridsmart system classifies vehicles with a length of 36’-51’ as heavy trucks, while the Wavetronix system has the length set at 46’-120’. Examples of heavy trucks are tandem dump trucks, semi-trucks, and tiller truck emergency vehicles.

“As we get into our heavy trucks, that’s when we start seeing our tractor trailers in there, but it’s not always tractor trailers. It can be smaller state-body trucks that have trailers behind them. It can be dump trucks hauling equipment behind it on a lowboy trailer,” Lewis described.

The presentation then detailed collection sites dated from Aug. 22 through Aug. 28. The amount of truck turn counts, and their intersections were:

  • Bridge Road / Lee Farm Lane Intersection

Medium Trucks Turn Count: 782

Heavy Trucks Turn Count: 234

  • Bridge Road / Bennetts Pasture Road Intersection

Medium Trucks Turn Count: 547

Heavy Trucks Turn Count: 161

  • Bennetts Pasture Road / Lee Farm Lane Intersection

Medium Trucks Turn Count: 152

Heavy Trucks Turn Count: 41

  • Bennetts Pasture Road / Sleepy Hole Road Intersection

Medium Trucks Turn Count: 61

Heavy Trucks Turn Count: 9

  • Kings Highway Timemark Traffic Tube 
  • Westbound

Medium Trucks Turn Count: 146

Heavy Trucks Turn Count: 105

  • Eastbound

Medium Trucks Turn Count: 69

Heavy Trucks Turn Count: 114

Crash data dating from Jan. 1, 2020, through July 19, 2023, was also provided. Reported crashes totaled at 54, with reported injuries being 35. The total number of reported fatalities was 0.

In the Public Work Department’s findings, it was presented that there was minimal through truck traffic, limited semi-truck traffic, limited accidents reported, and a number of commercial businesses that are dependent on trucks. In their recommendations, it was noted that Suffolk Traffic Engineering in concert with the Chesapeake Traffic Engineering should continue to install trailblazer signs on VA 164 and I-664, coming out of the Port of Virginia. 

“If we can catch them out on those high speed highways and direct them down to where they need to be… takes them as quick as possible to the businesses and get them to do their business and come back out, to me is a much more effective way to manage trucks instead of constantly putting up ‘No Prohibition’ signs and then trying to chase them down and try to enforce them,” Lewis said.

A recommendation was also made to continue working with Amazon to geofence certain areas of the city and keep trucks on approved truck routes. Monitoring traffic volumes and composition along Bennetts Pasture Road and Driver Lane as also noted. Lewis expressed the potent impact of geofencing regarding Amazon trucks.

“We’re seeing a significant dropoff in the Amazon truck traffic. That being said, we certainly do not have the ability to geofence every tractor-trailer that rolls through the city because the number of these are independent truckers,” Lewis said. 

Lewis concluded that this was the summary of what they found thus far.

“Thus far, I think we’ve been fairly successful. Is there always more to do? Absolutely. We’ll continue to strive to do that,” Lewis said. “At this point, we do not recommend any administrative changes or any additional prohibitions be put in place, but we’ll continue to monitor that,” Lewis ended.