As if the trucking industry isn’t dealing with enough issues already, there have been a few serious road closures lately. After the closure of I-65 in Indiana, truckers are looking for alternate routes to get across the state. The popular alternative of I-74 to U.S 41 costs carriers about two extra hours each day. Likewise, the I-10 Tex Wash bridge closure is having a significant effect on the industry. In fact, it represents nearly of $2.5 million per day in lost revenue. Each road closing adds to the overall impact.
Truckers and carrier companies need reliable routes to meet their deadlines and keep freight shipments on schedule. When roads close because of infrastructure problems, truckers have to spend extra time coordinating with their companies and use GPS to find alternative routes to keep their shipments moving on time. Daily, thousands of truck drivers rely on an interstate thoroughfare to get from point A to point B. When they have to restructure their route, the impact trickles down to the supply chain and costs transportation companies revenue every hour.
Since the Federal Highway Trust Fund’s coverage has been extended for another 3 months, the transportation industry is waiting for a viable funding alternative to help address some of the nation’s more pressing infrastructure problems. Two years ago, the American Society of Civil Engineers rated the US infrastructure. Barely passing, our nation earned a “D,” and it won’t be many years before average citizens feel the effects of unaddressed road closures because of infrastructure shortcomings.
Road hazards and closures threaten the safety of truckers every day. Not only do truck drivers have to be cautious in backed-up traffic because of the delays, they must also find ways to navigate around hazards while trying to maintain their recommended timeline as closely as possible. At the very least, road closures and other consequences of a deteriorating infrastructure cause increased stress on the job and, at worst, they can cause accidents and continue to drain the trucking industry of revenue.
Coming to Grips with the Possibility of More Closures
In light of yet another delay to overhauling the structure of the trust fund, many carriers are turning to technology to make daily driving easier on their companies. They are using cloud-based solutions, GPS, and direct communication between dispatch and truck drivers to develop multiple alternative routes that can help drivers save as much time as possible. By consistently watching traffic patterns on routine routes, companies can identify closures and delays before a truck driver is scheduled to travel through the area and offer an alternative route as soon as possible.
Until a more permanent solution to the infrastructure problem on America’s roads are addressed, carrier organizations will be playing an active role in the conversation on change and implementing innovative solutions to minimize the effect on the industry. Even with well-organized detours, truck drivers risk losing precious time and money each time a road closes. Unforeseeable hazards and closures can be disastrous to the trucking industry’s daily operation.