Montgomery, Ala. (WSFA) -- Several pick up trucks, a Mercedes, an SUV and a couple of 18-wheelers and this is a slow time at what used to be Merle's Truck Stop on Highway 231 south of Montgomery.
"I came out here the other night and there were 73 trucks here," said County Commissioner Reed Ingram.
Armed with a letter Ingram convinced the Alabama Department of Transportation this week to start making plans to erect concrete barriers at both entrances to the truck stop.
"I don't think this is overkill. We'll save lives," Ingram said.
It is true when Merle's Truck Stop was in business, there were scores of wrecks, some fatal right out front on 231.
Now that the business is closed, more than a few drivers it appears have turned the vacant lot into a rest area. Yet Ingram concedes he has NO evidence that anything more is going on such as prostitution or drugs. The sheriff's department confirms that but Commissioner Ingram is convinced this is the right thing to do.
"There is no lighting, no street lighting, the power's turned off and we can't police it all the time," he said.
WSFA 12 News has learned the state health department closed the restaurant at Merle's last November because of sewage issues. The store closed not long after. The sign out front says 'Under New Management' but not today. The state and a county commissioner are running the show.
So what about all those cars? Ingram is speculating they're meeting in the parking lot and car-pooling to Hyundai a few miles away.
Ingram says the barriers should up in about a week but maybe not for long. The property is in the process of being sold.