Driving Time Could Quadruple in One US City?
Truckers are always racing against time. Part of the job is to make deliveries as quickly as possible while adhering to all pertinent safety requirements and speed limits. However, one city in Alabama may cause drivers to face some serious delays.
The Alabama Department of Transportation will be closing Interstate 59/20 bridges in order to demolish and replace them. This change could have a big impact on truckers, leading to driving times doubling and even quadrupling.
A manager of a Birmingham-based carrier recently noted that with only 11 hours available per day to legally operate trucks, spending one hour in a single city is a very costly expense.
The changes could cause added road congestion and headaches over the next few years. Birmingham’s city center is a huge source for jobs in the area. The closing of nearby bridges means more traffic, more jams, and more delays.
The project is expected to begin in the fall of 2018, and the closure is predicted to last for a minimum of 14 months.
All available detours are at least 30 miles out of the way. To avoid the congestion, truckers would have to take these alternate routes. The added time it would take to do this is equal to or more than it would take to deal with the congestion on main roads.
One company has considered leasing some property in another area of the city, turning it into a drop point in an effort to speed things up and continue business as usual.
Officials have spoken with truckers about the delays and suggested alternate routes they can take in the meantime. They have also been adamant that the changes have to happen, saying the upgrades need to happen.
Birmingham is a major distribution hub in the region. Truckers appreciate improved infrastructure, as it allows them to do their job safer and more efficiently. However, drivers and administrators alike are well aware of the frustrations they may experience during this time.
One driver noted that it would be a pain, and that carriers would simply have to prepare as best they could.