Industry Reacts to I-95 Shutdown

March 26, 2004
The closure of I-95 in Bridgeport, Connecticut has created delays in the timetables of trucking companies. Even on the first day of what is forecasted to be at least a two-week shutdown of the highway, industry analysts are predicting rising costs and inevitably, slower shipments. “This highway closure will have a snowstorm effect on the trucking industry— it may be a localized incident but we will

The closure of I-95 in Bridgeport, Connecticut has created delays in the timetables of trucking companies. Even on the first day of what is forecasted to be at least a two-week shutdown of the highway, industry analysts are predicting rising costs and inevitably, slower shipments.

“This highway closure will have a snowstorm effect on the trucking industry— it may be a localized incident but we will see its effect throughout the region,” Jack Legler of the American Truck Associations’ Highway Watch Dept. told Fleet Owner. “The difference is that this snowstorm is expected to last two weeks.”

Legler predicted local carriers will be hit the hardest by traffic congestion while long-haul carriers could expect 2 to 3 hour delays caused by detours. These delays will translate into higher costs as drivers spend more time on the road while burning more fuel.

“While long-haulers have these detours, unfortunately there is no good alternative for local operators,” Legler said.

The carriers who have already inked contracts with customers will have an especially volatile bottom line as they will be forced to eat the extra costs.

While many carriers have been reluctant to comment on the effect I-95 shutdown has had on its operation, Pace Motor Lines Inc., a Bridgeport-based LTL carrier operating in the Tri-state area did issue a statement.

“The I-95 closure is making operations difficult but we are doing our best to keep our customers happy,” a Pace spokesperson told Fleet Owner.

Michael Riley, president of the Motor Transport Assn. of Connecticut, described the incident as “a disaster.”

“This will result in much slower deliveries; and that is compounded by hours of service and higher fuel expenditures. We simply cannot absorb these costs,” Riley said.

If there is one silver lining to the disaster, it is that it occurred at the end of the week, Legler said, pointing out that Fridays tend to see less freight traffic.

“It happened on Thursday night, which gives people a chance to adjust their routes the next day. We probably won’t be seeing the real effects until Monday when normal commercial shipments begin— by then everyone will have a ‘heads up,’” Legler said.

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Terrence Nguyen

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