Your July 21 Pre-Trip: Bridge collapse could cost trucking companies, consumers

Here are five things worth knowing today:

1. In the wake of the I-10 bridge collapse, thousands of trucks are traveling on roads not built for them in order to keep freight moving, Tucson News reports. The Tex Wash Bridge is the major route between Los Angeles and Phoenix, AZ, and now all traffic is detouring onto smaller highways. The extra hours and fuel costs could mean higher costs for consumers. Collin Stewart, who runs Stewart Transport, a Phoenix-based trucking company that hauls refrigerated food, said: “It’s going to trickle down into the marketplace and have an impact on what you eat at your table,” according to Tucson News.

2. Port truck drivers from trucking company Pacific 9 Transportation (Pac 9) will go on an indefinite strike to protest misclassification at the company. While on strike they said they will “continue their legal fight to recoup stolen wages and many will support their families by working at one of four Teamster companies — Eco Flow Transportation, Shippers Transport Express, Toll Group, or Horizon Lines.” The strike began at 6 this morning at the company’s yard in Carson, CA, and will spread to marine terminals at our nation’s largest port complex as Pac 9 trucks enter those facilities. “I’ve been a port truck driver for five years and I have never worked for a company that treats their workers like Pac 9,” Pac 9 driver Pedro Martinez said. “The company refuses to recognize us as employees, refuses to provide us with safe and reliable trucks, and refuses to improve our work environment. We are going on strike again, this time indefinitely, because we are tired of the misclassification.”

3. Two Senators hope to announce they have reached a deal on the federal transportation bill, ABC News reports. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Barbara Boxer of California said on Monday that they could announce a multiyear highway bill as early as today. The authority to fund transportation programs expires on July 31. The House passed an $8 billion patch last week that will keep transportation programs going until Dec. 18. ABC has more.

4. Troopers in the Midwest are collaborating to crack down on distracted driving. According to NBC 4, state police from Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Pennsylvania and West Virginia will partner for a weeklong enforcement targeting distracted drivers. The project is aimed at providing combined and coordinated law enforcement and security services in the areas of highway safety, criminal patrol and intelligence sharing, according to the report. The project begins Sunday.

5. A bridge on I-35 in Salado, TX, that partially collapsed after being hit by a semi-truck in March has been hit again, according to the Temple Daily Telegraph. According to Texas DOT, a service truck that handles the removal and repair of tractor-trailers didn’t have its boom lowered enough and clipped the northbound side of the bridge. According to the report, there was no sign of major damage found but a closer inspection is planned.

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