Three states, two federal agencies and one transportation association coordinated routes and permit waivers in the midst of Hurricane Harvey on Aug. 26, to get 11 trucks weighed down with emergency generators across three states in a matter of hours.
The permitting process under normal circumstances could take days or weeks as state transportation officials evaluate routes based on weight restrictions on bridges and roads and limitations on the time of day such trips are usually allowed.
Within hours of the initial call for help Aug. 26, the oversize/overweight trucks were cleared for their 1,000-mile, 14-hour trek from a Caterpillar Inc. facility outside Phoenix; the first truck arrived at the federal staging area at Randolph Air Force Base outside San Antonio the evening of Sunday, Aug. 27.
“Everybody came together with the humanitarian aspect of this, knowing people were going to need help, knowing power was going to be out and many of the things they are going to need for shelter, for recovery, for rescue, for all of the things they are going to need to do, they are going to need power,” Arizona Department of Transportation spokesman Tom Herrmann told Bloomberg BNA.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Department of Transportation enlisted the help of American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) to track down officials at state departments of transportation in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas to get weight and time-of-day waivers for the heavy trucks traveling east with relief supplies.
“States, even during an emergency, they have permitting requirements that the federal government would have to go through that’s because of issues in their states such as construction and posted weight restrictions on bridges,” AASHTO’s Program Manager for Freight, Katelyn Dwyer, told Bloomberg BNA.
That the hurricane fell on a weekend also complicated communication for federal relief operations, Dwyer said.
The federal disaster declaration was critical to allowing states to override normal permitting processes, Herrmann from Arizona said.
“The only thing we really checked was weight to make sure the trucks wouldn’t be too heavy for any of the bridges along I-10,” said Herrmann. I-10 is the primary route for freight travel from Arizona to Texas.
Officials also called ahead to the border points between Arizona and New Mexico to tell staff there to allow the trucks to pass, even if they didn’t have proper paperwork, said Hermann.
The generators are just one example of the bureaucratic maneuvers FEMA, DOT and transportation authorities will be doing in the next days and weeks.
AASHTO held a call Aug. 28 with 16 states to make sure additional emergency supplies from water and food to mobile homes can travel safely in the storm’s aftermath.
“This coordination ensured each individual State permitting process was available to carriers 24/7 and that both USDOT and FEMA have a clear understanding of what state waivers, if any, are currently in place for permitting the oversize/overweight movements,” a DOT spokesperson told Bloomberg BNA in a statement.
To contact the reporter on this story: Shaun Courtney in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Hendrie at pHendrie@bna.com
Copyright © 2017 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)