FMCSA petitioned to allow CLPs for 17-year-olds | I-44 closure, I-70 lane restrictions

Trucking news and briefs for Friday, May 17, 2024:

High school CDL program petitions FMCSA to allow 17-year-olds to get CLPs

Connell High School in Connell, Washington, which offers a CDL program for students, has petitioned the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for an exemption beginning in September to allow students under the age of 18 who are enrolled in CHS’s CDL Program to obtain a Commercial Learner’s Permit.

Students participating in the program would obtain a CLP at the age of 17 and receive 180 hours of classroom, field, and drive time instruction before obtaining a CDL at the age of 18. According to CHS, the school district serves a primarily agricultural community across four small rural towns, with a decreasing workforce but with an increasing agriculture and transportation demand.

The high school said that it believes that granting the exemption will allow students, upon graduation, to “immediately enter the local workforce with stable, well-paying employment,” according to FMCSA’s Federal Register notice, publishing today.

CHS also believes that the exemption could have a positive impact on the local communities. The school said that a similar program exists in Maine and is offered by public institutions, allowing students as young as 16 to obtain a CLP.

“CHS believes its robust CDL preparatory program will ensure CHS achieves a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety that would be obtained by complying with the regulation,” FMCSA said of the petition. 

Comments on the request can be filed here through June 17.

[Related: FMCSA proposes changes to CDL testing process]

I-44 overnight closures planned in Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority announced that closures of both directions of I-44 will occur this weekend.

Westbound I-44/Turner Turnpike and the Stroud Service Plaza will be closed between State Highway 99 (milemarker 179) and the Stroud Service Plaza overnight Friday, from 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. Saturday, May 18, allowing for crews to hang bridge breams for the Old Stroud Road bridge reconstruction.  

The detour for Friday night’s closure is the SH-99 exit to Stroud to WB SH-66 to NB SH-18 back to WB I-44 at Chandler (milemarker 166).

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On Saturday night until 6 a.m. Sunday, May 19, EB  I-44/Turner Turnpike will be closed between SH-18 at Chandler and SH-99 at Stroud for bridge beam hanging. The Chandler Service Plaza will be closed during this time.

Drivers are advised to plan additional travel time and expect congestion in the area during these closures.

Reconstructing Old Stroud Road bridge is part of a project to add a two-way frontage road between Old Stroud Road/N. 3550 Road and SH-99/N. Eighth Avenue, which opened Feb. 9. Other work includes reconstructing W. Seventh Street between Old Stroud Road west toward the turnpike service plaza near Ozark Trail Road.

Additionally, shoulder improvements will be made on the I-44/Turner Turnpike later in the project, which is expected to complete by the end of 2024. This project is in preparation of the upcoming reconstruction of the Stroud service plaza area and the future widening of the I-44/Turner Turnpike corridor.

[Related: I-17 closure this weekend | Rates, financing costs dent trucking conditions]

I-70 lane closures ahead next week for Colorado truck ramp project

The Colorado DOT announced that there will be various lane closures along I-70 EB during the week of May 20 while crews work on an emergency escape ramp at milemarker 256 near Lookout Mountain.

Planned single lane closures include:

  • Sunday, May 19, at 7 p.m. to Monday, May 20, at 1 p.m.
  • Monday, May 20 from 6 p.m. to Tuesday, May 21 at 1 p.m.
  • Tuesday, May 21 at 6 p.m. to Wednesday, May 22 at 1 p.m.
  • Wednesday, May 22 at 6 p.m. to Thursday, May 23 at 1 p.m.
  • Thursday, May 23 at 6 p.m. to Friday, May 24 at 10 a.m.

Overnight double lane closures are also planned for:

  • 9 p.m. Sunday to 6 a.m. Monday
  • 8 p.m. Monday to 6 a.m. Tuesday
  • 8 p.m. Tuesday to 6 a.m. Wednesday
  • 8 p.m. Wednesday to 6 a.m. Thursday
  • 8 p.m. Thursday to 9 a.m. Friday

There will also be 24-hour weekday right and left shoulder closures, an 11-foot lane restriction, and a 40 mph speed limit for trucks between exits 254 to 259. The emergency escape ramp is closed to truckers and all vehicles until late spring 2024.

Shell’s Starship 3.0 embarking on cross-country tour

Shell Starship 3.0The Shell Starship 3.0 will embark on a cross-country tour following next week's ACT Expo in Las Vegas.Shell

Building on a successful demo run on the West Coast lass fall, the Shell Starship 3.0 is hitting the road again to show off the truck’s efficiency and carbon reduction.

The truck, equipped with a Cummins X15N natural gas engine and powered by compressed natural gas (CNG), was on the road last week on a route throughout North Carolina.

During the run, performance data will be collected to show the CO2 reduction and freight ton efficiency (FTE) capabilities of Shell Starship 3.0. These results will be third-party monitored and verified by the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE), as has been done with all previous Starship demonstration runs. 

“The Shell Starship initiative continues to provide guidance on ways that advanced, currently available technologies can offer road transport efficiencies to fleets and drivers,” said Tom Mueller, General Manager of Shell Commercial Road Transport Lubricants. “Gathering added performance data with the natural gas engine-powered Starship will build on the previous run and provide us more information to share with fleets about how they can reduce their energy usage and carbon emissions without losing focus on the cost of their operations.”

In addition to last week’s run in North Carolina, the truck will begin a nationwide tour starting at the Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo in Las Vegas from May 20-23. The truck will participate in the vehicle demonstration ride portion of the show, which focuses on advanced clean vehicles and technology. Shell Starship 3.0 will then travel to Shell Rotella SuperRigs at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas, from May 30 to June 1. The following week, the truck will travel through Texas for stops at Shell’s Woodcreek headquarters and the Shell Technology Center in Houston.

Starship 3.0 will then visit key Shell partners and customers throughout the U.S. The tour will end in early fall with stops at Shell CNG stations in California.

[Related: Shell rolls out Starship 3.0 with Cummins' new X15N natural gas engine]

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