Overdrive staff | December 01, 2009

FTR Associates released preliminary data showing Class 8 net orders for all major North American truck makers totaled 21,792 units in October, reflecting a definite upsurge in order activity.

October’s order volume is a 104 percent increase over September and a 117 percent year-over-year increase. For the last three months, Class 8 orders were received at an annualized rate of 172,300, significantly better than early 2009. The figure includes orders for the United States, Canada, Mexico and exports.

“All indications are that the October increase is due to the filling up of remaining 2009 production slots for trucks with the older 2007 engine technology and to avoid the new 2010 engines, which due to tighter emissions standards will be more expensive and will employ new technology,” says Eric Starks, FTR president. “Significantly, the order activity was broad-based among the OEMs from fleets of various sizes and did not appear to be dealer restocking. However, we believe this is a temporary situation that may actually take orders away from early 2010.”

— Staff reports

Pennsylvania tries again to toll I-80

Pennsylvania’s third application to ask federal permission to toll Interstate 80, again met with opposition.

On Oct. 29, the state transportation department and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission made a formal response to a Federal Highway Administration memorandum issued last fall about the application to convert I-80 to a toll road, providing more financial details.

A study released by the Coalition to keep I-80 toll-free found that users already pay more than the amount that PennDot spends yearly on freeway maintenance.

Study investigator Tracy Miller of Grove City College said truckers would use smaller roads to avoid tolls.

— Jill Dunn n

Highway Happenings

CALIFORNIA. Watch for increased congestion on State Route 91 between SR 241 and SR 71 in Orange County. The project to widen six miles of roadway will run through late 2010.

COLORADO. Commercial vehicles must carry sufficient chains now through May 31 on Interstate 70 between mileposts 133 and 259. Trucker information is at www.cotrip.org, click on Truckers.

MINNESOTA. Occasional closures of the Minnehaha Parkway at Interstate 35W are due to rebuilding of the I-35W bridge over the parkway through December.

MISSISSIPPI. Northbound and southbound lanes of Interstate 55 near Jackson will be closed weekday nights over the next few months while state construction crews replace hardware and light bulbs on high-mast light poles.

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