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Jeff Whitten: Truck traffic ain’t no fun
editor's notes

I normally spend most of my day and half the night on Tuesday’s working on this thing we sort of like to call a weekly newspaper and you like to call, well, whatever it is you like to call it. A little slice of pumpkin pie spiced heaven, maybe, or the cat’s meow. Or, the litterbox liner on which the cat goes to wee, perhaps.

But more on that another day because this Tuesday, I ran amok. Or wanted to after spending what felt like six solid hours driving from my house outside Rincon to Savannah and then to Twin City.

I had to transport my brother-in-law Joey, who had rotator cuff surgery early Tuesday morning down at an outpatient surgery off DeRenne and was all doped and slinged up and thus couldn’t drive back home to his digs in downtown Twin City, about two rock throws from Emanuel County Institute, home of some pretty good Class A football.

So anyway, I went and got him and took him home. That meant having to travel twice through both Garden City and Port Wentworth, which are kind of like ground zero for the Savannah ports, so there are probably 2.3 million semis daily roaring gaily up and down highways 21 and 25 and 17 and 80 and every byway they can find, and we haven’t got to the interstates yet.

And maybe all this would be fine if it weren’t taking place while pinheads, er, people, in little dwarf cars snapchat and drive all around trying to get somewhere 23 seconds early and scaring everybody else along the way.

But they do, about the same time about 500,000 billion big rigs with those TEU containers on the back go up the Jimmy DeLoach Parkway and out Highway 80 and wind up taking a left onto Highway 280 in Blitchton and on over to the I-16 interchange, which probably has 7,000 trucks a day passing through on that two lane stretch of country road for every resident who even thought about living there on the banks of the beautiful Ogeechee. It’s that place where the monster semis will soon outnumber the pine trees as the warehouses rain down like cats and dogs and get filled up with stuff we need.

I know, it’s been a long Tuesday. Still is.

Back to Blitchton, where all that truck traffic rumbles through negatively impacting the qualify of life of at least some nice people I know, not to mention at times backing up traffic at the signal for a couple football fields in both directions.

And it shouldn’t be there, or a lot of it shouldn’t. That’s because a lot of that semi traffic is due to drivers dodging the weigh station on I-16, which is not what’s supposed to happen.

But truth is I’d probably do the same thing if I drove a big truck out of Savannah and was tired of red tape and people wanting to know how much my truck weighed. But I don’t, and they probably wouldn’t let me if I wanted to. So I drive a pickup and pretend to be an editor for a living instead.

And just to be clear, lest some think I’m picking on truckers, I’m not. I’ve met truckers and most are like anybody else. I also get it that we need folks to drive big trucks to deliver the things that make our country No. 1.

What’s more, the port and the trucks that transport goods to and fro is a big business and it means jobs. I know this because I get professional press releases from the Georgia Ports Authority about how much the port means to the state economy, and I suspect that’s why you no longer can stand about and scratch yourself for very long contemplating nature without a warehouse popping up over there in what used to be boondocks full of bushes, gopher turtles, meth salesmen and indigo snakes.

Still, for every Knight of the Road – as civilized truckers who do their best to be a good citizen of the road were once called – there are at least some who’ll run you over in a heartbeat and wave while doing it.

Worse, if you haven’t noticed, it’s getting harder and harder to find a way where you aren’t in the way of semis on their way to one warehouse or another, or trying to find a short cut that’ll sneak them around a weigh station on the way. And so what if they pull out in front of you and then take 15 minutes to get up to 15 mph? That, my friend, is the price of progress. Get used to it.

Whitten is editor of the Bryan County News.

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