Truckers cope with crisis in flooding

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At least seven carrier terminals east of downtown Nashville, Tenn., sustained flood damage after record rainfall the first weekend in May left the Cumberland River at levels not seen since the 1930s. Many, however, were able to move mobile equipment to higher ground before floodwaters rose too high and remain operational during the crisis.

Milan Express was up and running two days after the Nashville flood. (Photo Todd Dills)Milan Express was up and running two days after the Nashville flood. (Photo Todd Dills)

Mike Stone, president of Milan Express, owner of one of the affected terminals, said his company was fully operational into and out of Nashville just two days after the flooding, as were other carriers, such as intermodal fleet TCW.

“We are up and running in Nashville,” Stone said. “We had an emergency and disaster plan in place and got that going immediately. We were able to rescue most of our freight and our equipment before the police made us leave Sunday [May 2],” as waters rose above 10 feet in some areas.

Milan and other carriers moved operations to temporary warehouses and other space, in many cases donated, and scrambled to keep business going amid nearly a week of high floodwaters.
Throughout Nashville and the region, carriers have begun the long process of assessing losses and cleaning up or rebuilding flooded terminal buildings. Cumulative damage to homes, businesses and transportation infrastructure in Metro Nashville was estimated to have reached $1.5 billion. “Some of us personally have had issues with our own homes and everything else,” said Stone. “We appreciate everybody’s support. We’re up and running and we want our customers to know that – we need them to continue to give us their business and we’ll make sure we handle it with the same care and efficiency that we’ve done before.”

Up to 20 fatalities had been blamed on the flooding, some occurring during inundation of Nashville-area interstates, which stranded many truckers through May 3.

The downtown Nashville TravelCenters of America location was likewise affected, with several rigs caught in high water. As of May 13, it remained closed, with a potential mid-June reopening.

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For more reporting, including pictures and video, on the flooding and ongoing recovery, visit Nashville-based Overdrive Senior Editor Todd Dills’ Channel 19 blog: