Amazon curtails some services, highways closed, as protests impact freight and drivers safety
Story by: Brian Straight at FreightWaves.com
As protests over the death of George Floyd continued around the country on Saturday and into this morning, many turning violent, their impact is now spreading to the freight world.
Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) announced that it is recalling drivers and adjusting routes in several cities affected by protests, including Chicago, Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon.
According to Bloomberg, Amazon sent delivery drivers in Chicago and Los Angeles a message advising them to stop delivering packages immediately and “return home.”
“If you have not completed your route, please return undelivered packages to the pick-up location whenever you’re able to do so,” Bloomberg reported the message said.
Road closures shutting off access to cites
As protestors started blocking highways, states began closing the roadways for safety reasons in response.
At the heart of the protests in Minneapolis, the state’s Department of Transportation (DOT) took the unusual step of closing five major routes into the city at 7 p.m. local time on Saturday, and leaving those routes closed until 6 a.m. this morning. These included sections of Interstate 35 west and east, Interstate 94 west and east, Interstate 394 east and Highway 55 both north and south.
FreightWaves reached out to the start DOT to inquire about potential closures today but as of publication time, had not received a response.
In Seattle, the Washington State Patrol shut down Interstate 5 in both directions Saturday night as protestors ventured onto the highway. The highway was also closed in Sacramento, California, Saturday night and highways in New York and Atlanta as well as numerous other states have seen closures, either from proactive state actions or because protestors have blocked them.
Near Chicago, the Illinois State Police closed Interstate 290 eastbound to Ida B. Wells Drive on Saturday afternoon, as it did the Ohio and Ontario feeder ramps into and out of the city, reported CBS 2 Chicago. It was unclear when those routes would reopen.
On social media, drivers started cautioning each other about trouble areas. Some have warned of protestors throwing objects from bridges. Kenny Long, who is an administrator of the popular Rates & Lanes Facebook group, urged drivers to exercise caution.
“Protests and violent riots are erupting in cities nationwide. Use extreme caution while driving, especially through major cities and congested areas. Avoid these areas whenever possible, especially after dark. Stay on major highways to avoid traffic congestion, and do not stop if confronted. Park in lighted areas at least 50 miles from all areas with protest or violent activity. Be sure to keep adequate fuel in your truck so you do not need to make unplanned stops. Make sure to double check the routing through these areas when booking loads,” Long wrote to members of the group Saturday night.
Others are simply suggesting drivers avoid areas of protest, or simply shut down their trucks until they end and it is safe to resume operations.
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Source of original story and credits: freightwaves
iTrucker / Mario Pawlowski / itrucker.com