I-195 bridge closed in Rhode Island | Fuel dips below $4/gallon

Trucking news and briefs for Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2023:

Closed indefinitely -- I-195 WB bridge in Rhode Island

The westbound lanes of the Washington Bridge along I-195 in Providence, Rhode Island, are closed indefinitely after crews found “a critical failure of some bridge components.”

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) said those particular components are part of the original Washington Bridge, which was built in 1968. They were uncovered during the bridge's reconstruction.

Initially, all the westbound lanes will be closed and traffic diverted to alternate routes. In the next two to three weeks, RIDOT will move traffic to two lanes on the eastbound side at which time permanent repairs will begin on the westbound side. This will require a closure of two lanes on I-195 East in the area of Exit 1A (India Street), which began at 9 a.m. today, Dec. 12. 

Depending on the severity of what RIDOT finds in its initial work, the repair could take three months or more. 

“In the process of reconstructing the Washington Bridge, our consultants found urgent safety issues that could cause a critical deficiency on this side of the bridge,” said RIDOT Director Peter Alviti. “We are closing the westbound side until we can make it completely safe.”

RIDOT said the preferred detour route for trucks is to take Massachusetts Exit 1 and follow Route 114A. Follow onto Route 114 (Pawtucket Avenue) or Route 1A (Newport Avenue) to I-95.

Other marked detour routes include:

  • Local traffic in East Providence: Take Exit 2 to Broadway. Follow detour signs to the Henderson Bridge and rejoin I-195 West at Gano Street.
  • Southeast Massachusetts east of Fall River, Massachusetts (including traffic coming from Cape Cod and the New Bedford Area): Take Massachusetts Exit 14B to Route 24 North. Follow to I-495 North to I-95.

The Washington Bridge carries 96,000 vehicles daily. The total construction cost for the Washington Bridge project is $78 million.

[Related: I-15 closure upcoming]

Diesel falls below $4/gal

The national average price for a gallon of diesel fuel has dipped below $4 for the first time since July, according to Energy Information Administration data.

After the week ending July 24 -- when prices last averaged below $4 at $3.91/gallon -- the U.S.’ national average climbed as high as $4.63 during the week ending Sept. 18. Prices were up and down through much of October, but now fuel prices have fallen for seven consecutive weeks.

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The national average for a gallon of on-highway diesel now stands at $3.99.

Spot market volumes and rates fell alongside diesel's tumble last week in the aggregate, according to the weekly spot update from FTR Transportation Intelligence and the Truckstop load board

Truckstop/FTR weekly spot market snapshot, December 12, 2023Broker-posted spot rates in the Truckstop system last week fell by the most since early October, but guess what? That is almost always the case for the second week following Thanksgiving, and such rates losses on average are usually even sharper. Dry van and refrigerated equipment last week saw the most notable rate decreases during the week while flatbed rates held steady. Total spot rates usually are relatively weak during the first couple of weeks of December before spiking during the holidays as the vacations roll in earnest, according to FTR analysts.Truckstop/FTR

Fuel prices were down in all regions across the U.S. during the last week, with the biggest decrease being seen in the Midwest, where prices fell 12.5 cents/gallon during the week.

California -- still home to the nation’s highest prices at $5.37/gallon -- saw the next largest decrease of 11.3 cents during the last week.

The nation’s cheapest diesel remains in the Gulf Coast region at $3.64 per gallon.

Prices in other regions, according to EIA:

  • New England -- $4.42
  • Central Atlantic -- $4.41
  • Lower Atlantic -- $3.88
  • Midwest -- $3.90
  • Rocky Mountain -- $4.05
  • West Coast less California -- $4.31

ProMiles’ diesel averages during the most recent week showed prices fall by 6.7 cents to $4.08 per gallon.

According to the ProMiles Fuel Surcharge Index, the most expensive diesel can be found in California at $5.56 per gallon, and the cheapest can be found in the Gulf Coast region at $3.68 per gallon.

[Related: 'Never give up' in drive to trucking success: Pitfalls, best advice for new and seasoned owner-ops]

Great Dane makes Stemco axle fasteners standard on all trailers

A new strategic agreement between Great Dane and Stemco to promote safety and simplify wheel-end component installation makes Stemco’s new Auto-Torq axle fastener standard on all Great Dane trailers.

“By incorporating the Stemco Auto-Torq axle fastener, we are removing complexity from our installation process,” said Barry Personett, VP of Product and Sales Engineering for Great Dane. “This works with any industry hub manufacturer, simplifies installation, and extends bearing life by ensuring that the optimum clamp load is applied.”

Introduced to the market earlier this year, Stemco said the Auto-Torq is an innovative axle fastener that eliminates the need for complex processes and specialty tools. It securely applies the optimum clamp load on the bearings every time to minimize wear and maximize service life.

"We are excited to partner with STEMCO on making the Auto-Torq axle fastener standard on Great Dane trailers,” said Chris Hammond, EVP of Sales for Great Dane. “We believe this all-in-one solution will streamline wheel end installation, with an exclusive extended warranty that provides significant value to our customers."

The extended warranty includes eight years parts and labor and will be available to customers starting in January of 2024.

[Related: The five most common reasons wheel seals fail]

Paccar Parts celebrates 100th TRP store

TRP, Paccar Parts’ exclusive brand of aftermarket parts for all makes and models of trucks, trailers and buses has opened its 100th store within the United States and Canada.

Operated by Allstate Peterbilt Group, TRP St. Cloud is located in St. Cloud, Minnesota, and opened its doors to the public on Tuesday, Nov. 28. The store is 27,500 square feet overall with 2,500 square feet of dedicated retail space. The building sits on three acres on the south side of St. Cloud.

With a 25,000 square foot warehouse, TRP St. Cloud will offer customers the largest breadth of parts availability in the area, the company said. 

The store will focus on warehouse capabilities and part delivery as a parts-only operation. Like other TRP stores, TRP St. Cloud will leverage Paccar Parts’ Online Parts Counter for efficient eCommerce transactions and enhanced customer satisfaction.

[Related: Nontraditional parts-sourcing strategies on the rise]