Originally created 03/19/00

Truckers plan convoy



Angry truck drivers in high-powered rigs are planning a convoy Tuesday leading to the municipal building, where they will tell Augusta Commission they have no place to park.

A group of about 30 Augusta truckers met at Shoney's at 1645 Gordon Highway on Saturday, figuring out exactly what they will say when it's their turn to address the commission. They said they are upset and confused by the county's recent crackdown on truck cabs being parked in residential areas.

"Where are we supposed to go?" asked Continental Express driver Elizabeth Price, who parks her rig on her sister's property in Hephzibah.

According to a local ordinance, trucks that have more than three axles and more than a one-ton capacity cannot be parked in neighborhoods for longer than one hour. Complaints from neighborhood associations have prompted Richmond County Sheriff's Department to step up its enforcement of the law in the past several weeks.

"My property value is only as good as my next-door neighbor lets it be," said Raymond Dick, president of the neighborhood association for Fairington/Town & Country subdivision, where he says about 30 truck drivers live. "There's not a neighborhood I know that would want these."

Some members of the group meeting Saturday already have received $300 tickets. Many others have been warned and told to park elsewhere.

Salem subdivision resident and System 81 Express truck driver Curtis Robertson said his yard and driveway are the safest places for his rig, which he has thousands of dollars invested in, when he's not on the road. Even if he were to obtain permission to park in a commercial lot, he would be vulnerable to vandals and thieves.

"The (county government) could make this into a money-making proposition," he said. "Build us a lot, charge us a fee, put a fence around it and keep a deputy posted there 24 hours per day."

"And I want shuttle service to and from the lot," truck driver and Fairington resident Lefonza McCoy added.

Other truckers say they want the ordinance modified to allow rigs -- not trailers -- to be parked on private property off county right of way. They also would agree to laws banning maintenance in neighborhoods and limiting idling time to five minutes.

But for starters, they want enforcement of the ordinance suspended while the commission makes a decision.

To those propositions, Mr. Dick says no dice. It's not fair for an entire subdivision to suffer so a select few can come and go with noisy, dangerous machines that drip oil and tear up the streets, he said.

"Let them raise all the Cain they can do," Mr. Dick said. "They're going to have to follow the law. The commission is not going to bend on that ordinance."

Trucks will assemble between 11 and 11:30 a.m. Tuesday in the Shoney's parking lot, trucker LeVon Patterson said. The convoy likely will launch at about 1:15 p.m. traveling from Gordon Highway to Walton Way to Fifth Street to Greene Street to the Augusta-Richmond County Municipal Building parking lot, he said.

Reach Johnny Edwards at (706) 823-3225 or jedwards92@hotmail.com.

Convoy

Drivers of tractor-trailer rigs plan a convoy to the municipal building Tuesday to tell Augusta Commission they have no place to park in their subdivisions. Truckers will assemble between 11 and 11:30 a.m. at Shoney's, 1645 Gordon Highway, and commence the convoy at about 1:15 p.m.