Following the completion of an operational and safety review, the Tennessee Department of Transportation announced, vehicles longer than 30 feet will be restricted from use of the mountainous section of U.S. 129 (Tennessee State Route 115) in Blount County, Tenn., known widely as “The Dragon.”
TDOT reports that from 2010 to 2012, there were 204 total crashes from the Tennessee/North Carolina State Line to Tabcat Bridge (Log Mile 11.19) in Blount County, with six of those involving fatalities. TDOT consider the crash rate a “critical number” based on the type of road and number of vehicles per day. While only one of the fatal crashes involved a tractor-trailer, there were a number of incidents involving large trucks.
Given the curvy and narrow roadway, incidents involving tractor trailers “usually block the highway for several hours and prevent travel for all motorists,” TDOT noted. Furthermore, U.S. 128 over on the North Carolina side of the border is already truck-restricted. Signage detailing these restrictions will be installed in mid-January, TDOT noted.