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'When They Stop, Our Economy Stops:' How To Keep Trucks Moving In Phoenix

(Photo by Christina Estes - KJZZ)
Transportation planners in metro Phoenix are focusing on ways to keep trucks moving safely and efficiently on arterial streets leading to Interstate 10.

As more companies open warehouse and distribution centers in the West Valley, more trucks are hitting the roads. And that’s creating concerns about congestion.

The American Transportation Research Institute says highway congestion cost the trucking industry more than $63 billion in 2015.  

Collin Stewart owns a company in Phoenix and shared his frustration with the Maricopa Association of Government’s Economic Development Committee.

“Those are my drivers, my employees, sitting on the roads doing nothing, driving upwards of a $200,000 asset, getting no revenue,” he said.

MAG Freight Planner Tim Strow said staff is working on ways to improve busy streets in west Phoenix and Tolleson, like 83rd Avenue, where trucks line up to get on Interstate 10.  

“This trend is going to continue in the future,” he said. “So, a big part of what MAG is trying to do today with working with ADOT is, ‘How do we move these trucks more efficiently in the MAG region, right?’ Because when they stop, our economy stops.”

Beyond wasted fuel and time for drivers, traffic jams can also lead to delivery delays for consumers.

As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.