Winter Storms Disrupt Trucking, Rail Traffic

Winter Storms Disrupt Trucking, Rail Traffic

The massive winter storm hitting a broad swath of the U.S. is delaying or stopping truck and train transport, as states shut icy highways or impose truck limits.

The worst of the snow and ice hit the Midwest, from Kansas and Oklahoma to Chicago on Tuesday and was headed for the Northeast Wednesday.

Connecticut Gov. Daniel P. Malloy wants trucks pulling tandem or double trailers to stay off the roads until 4 p.m. Wednesday, as the snow and ice hit New England.

In Oklahoma, several truckers were reportedly stuck along the Will Rogers Turnpike, which was closed at one point by the turnpike authority.

"It was kind of like the road was a whiteout and then all of a sudden I couldn't go anymore," Estes Express driver David Ray told FOX23 News late Tuesday.

Ray was stuck on the turnpike near Vinita, Okla., but eventually was rescued along with other drivers trapped in the storm by the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Sleet and freezing rain made driving conditions worse in many areas. More than 17 inches of snow hit Chicago, stranding hundreds of cars and trucks on roads.

Union Pacific Railroad warned customers Chicago and Milwaukee would be particularly hard-hit, along with other parts of Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana.

Successive waves of storms that have pounded most parts of the nation since December will have an impact on truckers' first quarter earnings.

In the first two weeks of January, Con-way Truckload had 850 loads cancelled by shippers because of winter storms, said President Herb Schmidt.

-- Contact William B. Cassidy at wcassidy@joc.com.