As Joplin, MO, struggles to deal with a tornado that has killed at least 122 people, injured 750 and leveled as much as 30% of the city, the Missouri Dept. of Transportation is expediting requests for oversized load permits and waiving fees to help with rescue and recovery efforts. At the same time, the state’s Dept. of Public Safety is suspending HOS requirements for drivers and fleets taking part in those efforts.
Truckers are asked not to exit I- 44 at Joplin, except to access the fueling plazas at Exit 4. There is no fuel at Exit 11, and there are no other truck services available in the Joplin area at this time.
A Pilot Flying J facility off Exit 11 on I-44 “took a direct hit from the tornado and is currently closed until damages can be repaired,” according to the company’s Facebook page. Surface roads remain closed to all but emergency response vehicles in much of the city.
Roads in an area north of the interstate are restricted to all but emergency vehicles. The rough borders of the area are MO Route 66 to the north, MO 249 to the east, MO FF/32nd Street to the south and Central City Road to the west. Those who attempt to enter the area will be ticketed. This area includes sections of Business US 71 and Loop 44. Visit the MoDOT Traveler Information Map - http://www.modot.org/ - and click on the Joplin tab at the top to see the restricted area boundaries.
Con-way Truckload, one of the country’s largest truckload carriers, is headquartered in Joplin, and its offices sustained some damage,. However the carrier was quickly back in operation, running on back-up generators, according to a spokesperson. A nearby maintenance facility was heavily damaged, with some 30 trailers and two tractors destroyed.
“While it has been an unbelievable tragedy for the city, Con-way is very fortunate that most of its people so far have survived this disaster with their health and families intact,” said Herb Schmidt, Con-way’s president. At this time there are no reports of fatalities among the carriers 500 Joplin employees, although three employees were injured and approximately 35 lost their homes, the company said.
“From an operations perspective, 80% of the operations team has been able to report to work and is functioning normally,” Schmidt said in an email. “We continue to communicate with our drivers, update them on status, and are working with customers to book loads and schedule pickups.”
Employees of R & R Trucking, major Dept. of Defense carrier headquartered in nearby Duenweg, MO, began collecting relief supplies on Monday, loading company trailers with donated water, canned goods, flashlights and other items, according to a report in The Greene Country Daily World.