Trucking news and briefs for Wednesday, July 20, 2022:
House transportation committee passes truck parking legislation
The U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure on Wednesday passed a bill that would allocate $755 million for state and local truck parking projects.
The Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act would authorize the creation of a competitive grant program for states to spend $755 million over a four-year period on new truck parking projects, including capacity expansion and enhancements like lighting, restrooms and other security features.
Now that the bill has cleared the committee, it will go to the full House, where if it passes, it would then move to the Senate for a vote before going to President Biden’s desk for a signature.
In an instance of somewhat rare agreement, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and the American Trucking Associations both praised the House committee for advancing the bill.
Todd Spencer, President and CEO of OOIDA, said it’s a major step forward but that there is still plenty of work to do. “We thank all the House lawmakers from both parties who have worked together on this and hope that the U.S. Senate will follow their lead by stepping up to address American truckers’ top safety concern.”
ATA President and CEO Chris Spear echoed Spencer's comments.
“The lack of safe and accessible truck parking is an issue that causes serious concern for our industry,” Spear said. “Without it, drivers waste hours looking for secure places to park for an hour or for the night, hurting their ability to rest and adding undue stress to their days.”
[Related: Forget speed limiters: Safe parking, infrastructure should be top priorities]
Planned I-94 closure to begin Friday
The Michigan Department of Transportation is reminding drivers that moving the Second Avenue bridge over I-94 in Detroit will start Friday, July 22.
The move will require closing both directions of I-94 between I-75 and M-10 (Lodge Freeway) for seven days.
The closure of I-94 will begin at 4 a.m. Friday, July 22. During the closure, eastbound I-94 traffic will be diverted to southbound M-10, then northbound I-75 and back to eastbound I-94.
Westbound I-94 traffic will follow southbound I-75, then westbound I-96 and back to westbound I-94.
Beginning at 1 a.m. July 22 all entrance ramps to eastbound I-94 will be closed from 30th Street (just west of Warren Avenue) to Chrysler Drive, while all entrance ramps to westbound I-94 will be closed from Mt. Elliott Street to Trumbull Avenue. Weather permitting, the I-94 freeway and ramps will reopen by 4 a.m. Friday, July 29.
MDOT said the new Second Avenue structure will be the first network tied arch bridge built in the state of Michigan. Network refers to the cables that are crossed from the top of the arch to the bottom of the driving surface on both sides of the structure. This innovative design eliminates the need for a center pier, which will accommodate the future I-94/M-10 interchange.
Daytime I-40 lane restrictions planned near Flagstaff
As the Arizona Department of Transportation makes a final push to complete a pavement project on I-40 between I-17 and Walnut Canyon Road in Flagstaff, drivers should expect alternating lane restrictions and delays while traveling through the area.
Beginning Thursday, July 21, there will be alternating lane restrictions on I-40 throughout the 10-mile project area during daytime hours from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Drivers should expect delays of 30 minutes or more, ADOT said.
The lane restriction configurations will change over the next few weeks as crews complete paving along I-40. The lane restrictions are expected to last through mid-August.
The paving project, which began in the spring of 2021, will create a smoother ride for drivers and fix years of winter weather damage to the road surface, ADOT added. In addition to replacing the pavement, work also includes making repairs to bridge decks along the 10-mile stretch and repairing guardrails as needed.
Bridgestone and Pilot partner for tire monitoring, service at truck stops
Bridgestone Americas and Pilot Company announced Wednesday a collaboration on an advanced tire monitoring and service network for commercial fleets at select travel center locations.
The collaboration leverages Bridgestone Fleet Care mobility solutions and Pilot’s network of travel centers to provide more convenient, frequent and actionable fleet tire intelligence. The initial trial phase will begin this summer with a rollout of the tire monitoring technology at 200 Pilot and Flying J locations.
Each router currently being installed in the fuel canopies of select Pilot and Flying J travel centers is linked to the Bridgestone tire pressure monitoring service, IntelliTire, and transmits real-time tire data in two minutes or less from trucks to fleet managers.
IntelliTire allows fleet operators to proactively address specific tire issues and mitigate unplanned maintenance, reducing downtime and improving driver safety. Fleets using this technology will have access to data such as tire inflation pressure and temperature to monitor of the health of each tire throughout its lifecycle.
With this intelligence in hand, fleets can also utilize the Bridgestone service event management application, called "Reach," to make preventive maintenance, roadside assistance and other vehicle service requests simpler and more efficient by connecting drivers, fleet dispatch, service centers, and technicians under one digital platform.
[Related: Stay ahead of the inspectors with maintenance topics in Overdrive]