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Texas highways that are popular with freight routes have been greatly affected by the Category 4 Hurricane Harvey. Dropping 52 inches of rain in just 5 days, many parts of Houston have been submerged, including some of the major highways.
Trucking fleets are continuing to enter Houston, Corpus Christi and other areas of Texas as fast as they can, carrying various supplies and helping with disaster relief. However, it is crucial for these haulers to know which routes are flooded in order to make the journeys safely.
TxDOT has a map that is constantly being updated with news of clear lanes and flooded interstates to help prevent freight haulers from entering dangerous situations. Some of the highways that have been closed, flooded or affected by Hurricane Harvey include:
Routes Flooded From Hurricane Aftermath
One of the Texas highways most affected by Hurricane Harvey flooding is Interstate 10. Just south of Beaumont, Texas, I-10 has waves as high was 4 feet moving across the highway, looking more like an ocean than a highway. From El Paso to San Antonio, across to Houston, Lafayette and into Baton Rouge, Louisiana, I-10 is a frequently traveled Texas interstate. Freights hauling relief supplies will need to find an alternative route around many sections of I-10 in order to make deliveries possible, whether in Houston, or New Orleans areas.
Parts of I-45 have been flooded, which connects Dallas to Houston. As a well-traveled route for trucks heading south, check updates before heading into Houston via I-45. Even if it is a functioning route, be aware of debris and other hazardous materials that are on the roadway after the flood waters have subsided.
In Humble, Texas specially, I-69 is flooded by the rain water brought on by the hurricane. Humble is north of Houston, but I-69 stretches through the center of Houston, making it a difficult road to avoid. If parts of I-69 are no longer affected by the immediate flooding caused by Harvey, be aware of rain in the coming weeks, as it will be likely to flood again.
I-610 functions as a loop freeway, connecting for I69, I-10, I-45 and others that intersect at the center of Houston. This 38-mile interstate that originally left many motorists stranded at the peak of Harvey, now can be used as a final option to get from one place to the next. Currently, it is not recommended for travel use, especially for heavy freights, but drivers should continue checking the TxDOT site for up-to-date roadway information by the hour.
For more information in addition to TxDOT, FEMA uses technical data to create flood hazard maps, keeping you updated with the latest developments.
Safe Driving Tips in High Water
1. Before you leave, check the weather along your route.
With powerlines down, phone service in Houston will be poor. Print a detailed map around your destination before you depart so you’ll be able to form a backup plan if you hit flooded roads.
2. Drive slowly.
Even though commercial trucks and flatbeds are heavy, they can hydroplane. It is recommended to leave a 7-second following distance in normal weather, but with rain and water-covered roadways, increase that to keep yourself and other drivers safe.
3. Check windshield wipers and lights.
Pre- and post-trip inspections are crucial when you’re hauling to an area that has experienced a natural disaster. You should double check that you have the ability to see and be seen on the road.
4. Try to avoid dirt-based roads or parking lots.
A heavy flatbed turning its wheels on mud is basically like standing in quick sand. Try to avoid parking on muddy areas that will only get worse as it continues to rain.
5. Don’t challenge the water.
Although freight trucks sit higher and are heavier than your typical passenger car, moving water on flooded roads are strong and powerful. Even if the water doesn’t sweep away your truck, it can cause a great deal of damage to your truck.
The demand for trucking to haul relief supplies and more is increasing every day due to the aftermath of the hurricane, in Texas, Louisiana and other parts of the United States. Inform yourself of what it’s like to work with a government transportation contract before you get started.