As Hurricane Sandy approaches landfall on the East Coast, truckers should use extreme caution in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast — or simply stay off the road.
Several states plan to issue travel restrictions that could limit truck traffic on many roads as the massive storm intensifies Monday afternoon through Tuesday.
Trucking companies based in the region closed terminals or limited operations Monday, with an eye toward potential flooding and worsening conditions Tuesday.
Disruptions in truck traffic and delivery delays could last for several days in the storm's wake, especially if widespread power outages occur.
Most modes of transportation have already been suspended, including local transit in East Coast cities and Amtrak passenger service on the Northeast Corridor.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey closed all marine terminals late Sunday, and terminal operators raced to secure equipment and containers.
Pennsylvania — one of the states in the hurricane’s direct path — limited speeds to 45 miles per hour on certain highways and banned certain types of truck traffic.
Oversize trucks, tractors with empty trailers, doubles and empty straight trucks are barred from sections of those roads, which include interstate highways.
Pennsylvania may expand those restrictions to other parts of the state later today.
“Vehicles in these classifications should pull over to a safe area and wait for the restriction to be lifted,” the state transportation department said in a statement.
As Pennsylvania is a major north-south and east-west truck corridor, restrictions on truck traffic in the Keystone State could effect a broad swathe of the East.
Similar restrictions are expected to be implemented throughout the region, where the hurricane will bring high winds, lashing rain, flooding and possibly snow.
YRC Worldwide regional subsidiary New Penn is closed today, shutting down its Northeastern less-than-truckload terminal network for the storm.
“This is in the interest of the safety of our employees, their families and the general public,” the Lebanon, Pa.-based carrier said in a notice on its Web site.
“Many businesses are closing, and individuals are being asked to stay home for the safety of themselves and the general public,” the company said.
“We are running very limited operations today, specifically in those service areas along the I95 corridor,” West Chester, Pa.-based A. Duie Pyle said on its Web site.
The LTL carrier noted that a state of emergency had been declared in six states and that bridges were likely to close later today because of high winds.
Pitt Ohio, a Pittsburgh-based LTL operator, closed terminals in Baltimore, Cherry Hill, N.J., and East Windsor, N.J., and limited some operations in Pennsylvania.
Ward Trucking, an LTL carrier in Altoona, Pa., closed its Philadelphia terminal and is running limited operations in Baltimore, Allentown, Pa., and Newburgh, N.Y.
For continuing coverage of the storm and its aftermath, see the JOC's Hurricane Sandy special topic page.