UPDATE: W Road now open after two trucks get stuck
Two tractor trailers traveling up the W Road Friday morning had trouble negotiating the hairpin curves of Signal Mountain.
Friday, May 9th 2014, 7:25 AM EDT
The W Road has been re-opened.
Two tractor trailers traveling up the W Road Friday morning had trouble negotiating the tight, hairpin curves of Signal Mountain's infamous W Road.
Tennessee Highway Patrol and Chattanooga Police shut down part of W Road around 6 a.m. as a tow truck helped navigate the trucks back down. Channel 3 was there as the two trucks reversed back down the mountain around 10 a.m.
One of the truck drivers told Channel 3 they were going to Ace Hardware Store on Signal Mountain and their GPS devices directed them to take the W Road.
The trucks' long wheel base prevents them from navigating the tight turns, which challenges drivers of even normal-sized vehicles.
Chattanooga Wrecker Owner JoJo Scott said this happens 3-4 times a year and blames it on GPS navigation.
"They can read a GPS but can't read that red sign that says 'no 18 wheelers,'" he said. "There's two big signs right there that say 'Warning: Semi Trucks Prohibited.' They can't read that sign but they can read that GPS telling them turn left, turn right, do this, do that."
The truck drivers passed at least three warning signs saying not to use the W Road: one at the base of the mountain, next to the Mountain Creek Rd round-a-bout and two about 1/4 mile up the road.
The trucks only made it about 1/2 mile up the mountain before getting stuck.
Amy Lokken is the Vice President of Safety and Driver Training at U.S. Xpress. She said truckers should only be using special trucker GPS navigation systems but can't just blindly rely on technology. Lokken said truckers should use all resources available including GPS, an atlas, and signage. To be clear, the trucks did not belong to Chattanooga's U.S. Xpress.
Lt. John Harmon of the Tennessee Highway Patrol said his troopers will inspect the trucks before deciding whether to cite the drivers. He said 90 percent of the problems with truckers and the W Road is caused by GPS and said it's possible the drivers will be cited with "failure to abide by traffic devices."
The road re-opened about 10:00am Friday.