Channel 19

Todd Dills

More from greater-Nashville flood

| May 04, 2010

Things continue wet, here, for anyone near the banks of the flooded Cumberland River, which reached levels not seen since well before flood-control efforts largely made it manageable since the last major event in the 1930s, which means that the flood level might easily be described as “100-year” or some longer period — “epic” is probably good enough, I imagine.

The situation at the TA for the majority of the drivers with dry trucks is over – though as you’ll see in the video below, shot yesterday seven hours or so after my initial visit to the site, others were not so lucky. Ryan Lavengood of Roehl Transport utilized the Tennessee Department of Transportation’s webcams after he finally got reliable word that I-24 eastbound was open and flowing. Via those cams, he could confirm it on his own: “Next time I get into some situation I’ll pull up the website and look at the cameras,” he says, “not wait on somebody to tell me what’s what.”

He noted that he was apparently not the only Roehl driver stuck there — one, he said, got his truck stuck in the inundation you see in my pictures and video. Lavengood said the driver got out just fine but was uncertain where he was: “He must live in the area,” he noted.

Lavengood had made Macon, Ga., by this morning, his revised schedule having him delivering in Lakeland, Fla., on Thursday.

Lavengood also mentioned news reports that some trucking companies with Nashville yards were, by last night, as the Cumberland finally reached its highest point, likewise underwater, specifically the Vitran Express LTL carrier, whose main facility is just south of the river. Intermodal carrier TCW is also located in the same area — I wrote about them in this 2009 Truckers News story and, more recently, visited their terminal here in Nashville while researching this Overdrive story on electronic on-board recorders for hours-of-service compliance. Here’s hoping they’re managing.

I spoke with a few truckstops in the area, too, about the diesel supply situation, given the large Marathon facility’s current state, but all reported no problems with supply and decent alternate sources if it continues bad.

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ANOTHER REPORT FROM THE ROAD: In addition to trucker and Truckers News writer/columnist Jeff Clark, another member of Randall-Reilly Publishing team caught in the storm Sunday was Overdrive managing editor and Channel 19 contributor Lucinda Coulter, on her way back to headquarters in Tuscaloosa, Ala., from visiting Indiana family when she stopped well north of Nashville in the Horse Cave, Ky., area on I-65. She talked to a pair of drivers at the Love’s Travel Stop there and “just asked several people where they’d come from. One trucker told me that had made it north on Briley Parkway from the east side about an hour earlier but that it was really tough and told me to be careful if we went any farther…. Then about 30 minutes later on Channel 5 News [in Nashville], the announcer said that parts of Briley had been covered up. We decided to cool our jets and stay the night. The next morning, I talked to two bus drivers who were having to decide how in the world they were going to find a detour on I-24 for their two loads of passengers.

“After I heard an actual news report the next morning that I-65 was open, we stopped at a Pilot a ways into Tennessee, and the cashier told me their phone had been ringing off the hook all morning. He told us that 65 was OK but ‘Don’t stop in Nashville and don’t get off the interstate anywhere there. Just go right on through and you’ll be fine.’

“I’m telling you, the truckers and the truck stops do more for travelers’ safety and knowledge than many realize.” Here here…