Truckers Waiting for the Reopening of the Grapevine

December 17, 2008 8:44:23 PM PST
As you can see, I'm standing in a parking lot surrounded by trucks that aren't moving. Some of them are simply waiting for the grapevine to reopen. For an industry already hit hard by fuel prices and new air quality regulations, weather delays are just as crippling.Marcus Nichols spends most of his time traveling ... making deliveries throughout the country. These days, he's been doing a lot of sitting around.

"It took me four days from Denver to California ... Because it was bad ice and snow. All the way across 180 Wyoming, all the way across Nevada and Northern California," said Marcus Nichols.

Similar weather conditions have crippled travelers throughout the state. Snowy conditions caused a mess on the Grapevine all day long. It's a route truckers like Nichols use often.

During the summer, truckers were paying upwards of five dollars a gallon for diesel. Now that it's dropped down to around two dollars, you'd think they'd be catching a break. But, some say, with these recent weather delays, that's not the case at all.

"It cuts our rates down. We can't get our pickups on time or deliveries on time ... We lose profit," said Marcus Nichols.

Other truckers like Eddy Leavell say they're willing to deal with the weather delays.

"If it's closed, I'll go around it. If they have chain requirements up, I'll just chain up and keep on going," said Eddy Leavell.

Leavell hopes his on-time deliveries will make up for some of his losses.

"I spent about 85-thousand dollars this year just on diesel, and that's absurb," said Eddy Leavell.

Meanwhile, Marcus Nichols says his losses are priceless.

"I can't pay my taxes. I can't pay my house payment, truck payment or support my family," said Marcus Nichols.

Truckers I spoke to say when they do drive in snowy conditions, they're usually going about 25 miles an hour.

So even when roads aren't closed, their deliveries are still late.

You can call the Cal-Trans Highway Information Line at 1-800-427-ROAD for up to the minute information on road conditions and closures on Interstate Five.

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