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Author Topic: Indiana plans truck-only I-70 highway study  (Read 13948 times)

roadgeek

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Indiana plans truck-only I-70 highway study
« on: April 14, 2009, 09:23:42 AM »

CLEVELAND (AP) Indiana is among four states studying a proposal to create separate lanes for commercial trucks traveling along 800 miles of Interstate 70.

Officials from Ohio, Illinois and Missouri also have signed a development agreement that includes using $5 million in federal funds to study what would be the nation's first truck-only interstate corridor. Federal officials have designated the busy stretch of road as a "Corridor of the Future," making the states eligible for assistance.

Supporters say the plan originally submitted to U.S. transportation officials in 2007 would increase safety and decrease traffic congestion.

Truckers say they are wary that a multibillion-dollar project to create truck lanes could be funded through tolls.

http://www.wsbt.com/news/regional/42946862.html
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Re: Indiana plans truck-only I-70 highway study
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2009, 09:40:21 AM »

Chances are that this project would have to be funded through tolls and I'm not sure if the truck drivers will be the only ones paying them :nod: :poke:
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Re: Indiana plans truck-only I-70 highway study
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2009, 10:20:48 AM »

NO MORE TOLLS PLEASE!!! The economy is bad enough without having to pay out more money.
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Re: Indiana plans truck-only I-70 highway study
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2009, 10:33:53 AM »

Bad plan in my opinion. A truck-only corridor is way more expensive than a regular widening, you need a whole extra set of overpasses, bridges, tunnels, ramps, etc. I believe the idea also showed up in Missouri along the I-70 corridor.

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Re: Indiana plans truck-only I-70 highway study
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2009, 11:09:36 AM »

Yes the idea showed up first in Missouri.  I wonder if the multi-state study will be as defective as the Missouri one, such as seemingly ignoring issues with trucks accessing weight stations and rest areas, and the safety issues with trucks weaving across the mixed use lanes to access them?  The Missouri I-70 study had the truck lanes costing at least half a billion more than six laning, with the cost very likely to further increase.  Truck lanes from Kansas City to Wheeling will have even bigger cost differences, since they will need a either a new Missouri River crossing at St. Charles - which is not otherwise needed at this time - and a new Mississippi River bridge - which if they use I-270, is already needed for all traffic.  Or are they going to screw over everyone else and take lanes away from car traffic?

Furthermore, I doubt they are going to seriously consider a rail alternative, which would be better for this length of project since I've read it is more feasible for 500 miles or greater, and somewhat less than 500 when diesel cost more.  I also think these lanes will be an excuse to ignore general traffic congestion, which is cheaper to solve with adding another conventional lane or two, by saying they are adding capacity for all, but are really only adding it for trucks.  At a certain point they will need more than two general purpose lanes, yet the space needed will be absent thanks to the truck lanes.
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Chris

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Re: Indiana plans truck-only I-70 highway study
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2009, 12:47:43 PM »

Rail transport is slow, inflexible and requires additional handling. In our day and age of just-in-time-deliveries, many stuff transported by truck is not suitable for rail freight. Factories, stores, distribution centers etc, do not keep huge stocks anymore, but are dependent on that just-in-time-delivery idea. I worked at a major supermarket for 5 years, and if a truck was delayed like 2 - 3 hours, we were already hitting empty shelves in the store. If you didn't get a delivery all day, the supermarket was nearly empty.

Rail freight is interesting for bulk goods and really long distances, such as cross continental routes.

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Re: Indiana plans truck-only I-70 highway study
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2009, 07:08:39 PM »

I partially disagree Chris, the fastest expanding segment of the North American rail industry is intermodal freight.  These trains contain both piggyback (trailer on flat car) and shipping containers.  The trains run at passenger train like speeds and haul goods including high value consumer electronics.

UPS and JB Hunt have been using rail for west coast to Chicago or Memphis travel for years.

What seems to be happening is that rail is increasingly being used for the intercity transport where it is more fuel efficient and can be time competitive with trucks when done right.  I think that trucks will be used for local pickup and delivery for the foreseeable future because, like you said, they are more flexible.

And, when diesel fuel was $4 a gallon here last year, the trucking firms could not get the trailers onto the rails fast enough.

Of course, the environment here in North America is significantly different than in Europe.  There are more long hauls here and intercity passenger rail (Amtrak) is only a footnote in the transportation network.  Plus, there is also a lot of long haul intermodal traffic through North America that is destined for Europe from Asia as loading on a train at the west coast then back to a ship on the east is faster than using a ship all the way.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2009, 07:11:14 PM by mightyace »
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Re: Indiana plans truck-only I-70 highway study
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2009, 07:09:58 PM »

Now, as far as the I-70 corridor is concerned, the direct rail routes between St. Louis and Pittsburgh have been abandoned or allowed to deteriorate, so the lines would have to be rebuilt for this corridor.
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Re: Indiana plans truck-only I-70 highway study
« Reply #8 on: April 14, 2009, 11:39:39 PM »

If rail is such a bad option, why is it being pursued in Virginia instead of truck lanes on I-81 - other reasons than public opposition?

Regarding the I-70 proposal, I would still like to know where all the trucks are vanishing to at Wheeling.
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Re: Indiana plans truck-only I-70 highway study
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2009, 07:08:08 AM »

Quote
And, when diesel fuel was $4 a gallon here last year, the trucking firms could not get the trailers onto the rails fast enough.

Nah, I don't know. I think that was more a reaction to the fast increasing prices... Here in Europe rail freight is absolutely non-important compared to trucking, and we have diesel prices which were $ 7 - 8 per gallon last summer. Now around $ 5. Diesel and Gasoline was always 2 - 3 times more expensive in Europe, and our trucking industry did not die yet, although they did have a hard time during the first half of 2008, but that was more because they couldn't calculate the higher fuel prices to their customers. If prices go up slow, the problem would be much smaller.

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Re: Indiana plans truck-only I-70 highway study
« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2009, 01:32:16 PM »

Quote
If rail is such a bad option, why is it being pursued in Virginia instead of truck lanes on I-81 - other reasons than public opposition?

Regarding the I-70 proposal, I would still like to know where all the trucks are vanishing to at Wheeling.

Gobbled up by the tunnel?  :-D
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Re: Indiana plans truck-only I-70 highway study
« Reply #11 on: April 15, 2009, 08:47:13 PM »

Quote
Diesel and Gasoline was always 2 - 3 times more expensive in Europe, and our trucking industry did not die yet,

I can't argue with that.  Though the lower fuel prices here are at least partially mitigated by the longer hauls.  For example, a Memphis to Bristol, TN haul is approximately 500 miles (800km) without leaving the state of Tennessee.

Otherwise, it seems to be differences in public policy and expectations.  On the latter, an increase from $5 to $7-8 is a 40 to 60 percent increase.  The increase here was from $2 to $4 which is a doubling of the price.  So, even though North American truckers are paying less for fuel, the increase in expenses can (psychologically) appear to be greater.

Even in this down turn, the North American freight railroads are spending billions of dollars increasing capacity.  And, that's without substantial government support.  If anything, government support for railroad infrastructure improvement will increase in the coming years as federal, state and local governments see that $1 buys more rail capacity increase than highway capacity increase.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2009, 08:50:37 PM by mightyace »
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Sykotyk

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Re: Indiana plans truck-only I-70 highway study
« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2009, 10:13:17 PM »

That's what I don't get. All this traffic on I-70 will suddenly hit Washington, PA and what... go through narrow roads, over a 45mph bridge, through mountains, sharp turns, etc, before finally getting to Breezewood and points east and southeast.

Great idea.

Just widen the road. That's all they need to do. This study is a waste of money by someone who probably just doesn't like trucks on the road with them when they're driving.

What about the plethora of truck stops and service facilities already located along the current I-70? What about the weigh stations, rest areas, and parking areas along I-70. What about the fact that most major shipping and receiving operations already are located on or near interstates. You still will have trucks on the old I-70 accessing trucking stops, customers, service facilities, etc.

Replace all the overpasses so you can handle more lanes below them, widen all roads and bridges. And don't just add an extra lane, if you're going through the cost, make I-70 four-lanes each way from around Oak Grove, MO to I-77 in Ohio. And 3 lanes to Wheeling. And if you want to spend a lot of money, build a better I-70 through Pennsylvania, that's where it's really needed.

Sykotyk
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Re: Indiana plans truck-only I-70 highway study
« Reply #13 on: April 17, 2009, 12:35:03 AM »

Just came to me:  Are they expecting an I-68 extension to Wheeling to be available by the time these lanes are built?

I don't like driving on the road with trucks.  They take forever to accelerate when getting on.  On a two lane interstate they drive side by side for 10 miles while going 10 under speed limit.  They produce a blinding spray during rainy or snowy conditions.  They cracked my windshield by flinging up rocks, and I got another chip recently by passing a truck merging into I-635 in Kansas.  But giving them their own lanes, while still allowing them to use the existing lanes, will not solve those problems, and will introduce the new issue of trucks trying to merge into a potentially congested left lane, and then weaving across, or vice-versa.  The above mentioned problems will occur more often on other roads feeding into the I-70 corridor if the truck lanes attract even more truck traffic.  I don't think enough consideration was given into the study in Missouri on what effect the truck lanes could have on upstream and downstream routes, like I-270 or I-29, especially if these lanes attract more trucks from the I-80 corridor.

[sarcasm]And if the excuse for these lanes is safety, I say we go further and give motorcycles their own lanes too, and grade separate a lot more pedestrian crossings.[/sarcasm]
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Re: Indiana plans truck-only I-70 highway study
« Reply #14 on: April 23, 2009, 07:59:14 PM »

"NO MORE TOLLS PLEASE!!! The economy is bad enough without having to pay out more money."

I totally agree, it cost about $30 just to get to NYC on I-95, and another $15 to get out   :ded:. They need to manage their money better.

[I know NYC isn't in the midwest, but it's just an example.]
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Re: Indiana plans truck-only I-70 highway study
« Reply #15 on: May 02, 2009, 12:05:11 PM »

Quote
Just came to me:  Are they expecting an I-68 extension to Wheeling to be available by the time these lanes are built?
I never heard anything about I-68 getting extended.  This is news to me.

Anyway, the real problem here is not that there will be more lanes and upgrades to do in Indiana, it's that when those trucks hit WV and PA, drivers are going to be screwed.  PennDOT and WVDOT should be the ones spearheading this massive truck lanes project because their I-70 is going to be the Achilles heel in the whole system once the lanes get built (if ever). 
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Re: Indiana plans truck-only I-70 highway study
« Reply #16 on: May 02, 2009, 01:47:28 PM »

^ I recall seeing a banner urging an I-68 extension to Moundsville on a trip out east before 2001.  There is also mention of an extension on the WVDOT website:
http://www.wvdot.com/13_news/13_news_dtl.cfm?s=456

I'm not finding anything more recent though.
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Re: Indiana plans truck-only I-70 highway study
« Reply #17 on: June 04, 2009, 11:49:04 AM »

That's what I don't get. All this traffic on I-70 will suddenly hit Washington, PA and what... go through narrow roads, over a 45mph bridge, through mountains, sharp turns, etc, before finally getting to Breezewood and points east and southeast.

Great idea.

Just widen the road. That's all they need to do. This study is a waste of money by someone who probably just doesn't like trucks on the road with them when they're driving.

What about the plethora of truck stops and service facilities already located along the current I-70? What about the weigh stations, rest areas, and parking areas along I-70. What about the fact that most major shipping and receiving operations already are located on or near interstates. You still will have trucks on the old I-70 accessing trucking stops, customers, service facilities, etc.

Replace all the overpasses so you can handle more lanes below them, widen all roads and bridges. And don't just add an extra lane, if you're going through the cost, make I-70 four-lanes each way from around Oak Grove, MO to I-77 in Ohio. And 3 lanes to Wheeling. And if you want to spend a lot of money, build a better I-70 through Pennsylvania, that's where it's really needed.

Sykotyk

Oh, come on.  You know you secretly like all of those 53-foot ramps with stop signs and traffic going 75 MPH on I-70.

That thing was outdated when it was built fifty years ago.  Pennsylvania's freeway system as a whole stinks.
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Re: Indiana plans truck-only I-70 highway study
« Reply #18 on: June 04, 2009, 12:02:38 PM »

somewhat less than 500 when diesel cost more.
trains run on diesel too ... does this mean they're that much more fuel-efficient than trucks?
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Re: Indiana plans truck-only I-70 highway study
« Reply #19 on: June 04, 2009, 11:50:18 PM »

A gallon of diesel can haul 22 tons on a truck five to seven miles (or roughly 1 ton about 1,440 feet). A gallon of diesel can haul 1 ton of product roughly 422 MILES on a train.

The added expense is the offloading, and that you still need a local truck driver to a) take the product (container, intermodal, etc) to the train at the starting point, and another local driver to pick up the product at its destination. You also need the equipment and employees to load and offload containers, etc. Throw in the time, it's not that efficient.

Hauling goods by truck, or by train, is a very small cost of the actual price you pay at the store. Only BIG items wide up costing more because the shipping cost per item is more.

Sykotyk
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Re: Indiana plans truck-only I-70 highway study
« Reply #20 on: June 05, 2009, 12:09:03 AM »

A gallon of diesel can haul 22 tons on a truck five to seven miles (or roughly 1 ton about 1,440 feet). A gallon of diesel can haul 1 ton of product roughly 422 MILES on a train.

The added expense is the offloading, and that you still need a local truck driver to a) take the product (container, intermodal, etc) to the train at the starting point, and another local driver to pick up the product at its destination. You also need the equipment and employees to load and offload containers, etc. Throw in the time, it's not that efficient.

Hauling goods by truck, or by train, is a very small cost of the actual price you pay at the store. Only BIG items wide up costing more because the shipping cost per item is more.

Sykotyk

Sykotyk,
Those figures give with an article in the July 2009 issue of Trains magazine.

Now to compare apples to apples, all figures are MPG for 1 ton of cargo.

Truck: 155 miles (in yours 7mi x 22 tons = 154)
Train: 413 miles (vs. 422 in yours)

But, there's one with a higher number,
Inland towing (Barge): 576 miles

Of course, your routes are much more limited with inland waterways.
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Re: Indiana plans truck-only I-70 highway study
« Reply #21 on: June 05, 2009, 03:40:06 PM »

A truck can haul 1 ton about as far as it can haul 22 tons.  Fill both a truck and a train to capacity.  Then see how much fuel it takes to move that many tons.  Then divide.  That's the only way to compare.

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Re: Indiana plans truck-only I-70 highway study
« Reply #22 on: June 05, 2009, 04:45:24 PM »

A train has the option of being powered by electricity instead of diesel fuel.  I don't have nor know how much that would affect costs when the initial starting costs are included, but I have to wonder if that option would be better than truck only lanes given how often oil prices seem to creep back up anymore.

Quote from: mightyace
But, there's one with a higher number,
Inland towing (Barge): 576 miles

Is that figure for with current or against current towing?
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Re: Indiana plans truck-only I-70 highway study
« Reply #23 on: June 05, 2009, 04:55:40 PM »

A train has the option of being powered by electricity instead of diesel fuel.  I don't have nor know how much that would affect costs when the initial starting costs are included, but I have to wonder if that option would be better than truck only lanes given how often oil prices seem to creep back up anymore.

The BNSF Railway (Burlington Northern Santa Fe) is considering that.  The operating costs of electric railways can be cheaper than diesel or steam, especially since trains braking or going downhill can put electricity back into the grid.  The main reason that it hasn't been implemented is that the initial capital cost to build the infrastructure necessary for electric operation is tremendous.  It's doubtful we'll see significant freight electrification in this country unless fuel goes up outrageously and/or government aids building the rail infrastructure.  The privately owned railroads currently must rely on private capital almost exclusively.

Quote from: mightyace
But, there's one with a higher number,
Inland towing (Barge): 576 miles

Is that figure for with current or against current towing?

It doesn't say.  I'm guessing it's an average of both.  Though, the Trains article said that the barge fuel efficiency could be even higher as the diesel engines in most barges are equivalent to rail road diesel engines of 30-50 years ago and modern diesel engines of that size can be twice as fuel efficient.
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