Faced with the delicate balance of keeping people safe and the economy going during the pandemic, Gov. Doug Ducey and the Arizona Department of Transportation made moves to assist the trucking industry to keep the supply of essentials like groceries and medical supplies flowing to Arizona communities.
In April, ADOT issued new rules that temporarily allowed commercial vehicles providing direct assistance to COVID-19 relief efforts to operate with a gross weight up to 90,000 lbs. without an overweight permit. The normal limit is 80,000 lbs.
This included, among other essential items, medical supplies related to the diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19, supplies necessary for community safety and preventing the spread of COVID-19 and food and household items for emergency restocking of stores.
In addition to raising weight limits to allow for more essential supplies into Arizona, ADOT initiated a few vital rest area-related projects to help support commercial vehicles.
ADOT temporarily reopened two long-closed rest areas near Flagstaff exclusively for commercial vehicles in early April. ADOT crews quickly prepared the Christensen Rest Area on Interstate 17 and the Parks Rest Area on Interstate 40 to offer parking, portable toilets and handwashing facilities for long-haul truckers. The reopening of these rest areas provided an additional 44 parking spaces for commercial vehicles.
Nearly 100 permanent truck parking spaces were added to two rest area locations along Interstate 40 by mid-summer. Haviland Rest Area received 38 new parking spaces between its two facilities, while Meteor Crater Rest Area received 56 spaces at its facilities. The Haviland project was fast-tracked specifically in response to the COVID-19 pandemic while the parking spaces at Meteor Crater were added to an existing project to renovate both the Meteor Crater Rest Area and the Painted Cliffs Rest Area.
Gov. Ducey also issued an Executive Order in April allowing food trucks to operate at several ADOT rest areas in order to provide long-haul truckers carrying those essentials with nutritious food while aiding the food truck business during the pandemic.
This story also appears on Truck and Trailer Guide.