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Volume 7, Issue 4 Quarter 4, 2016

DOTD SECRETARY RIDE-ALONG

CALL ON WASHINGTON

WORK ZONES Open FALL RoadCONFERENCE Q4 2016 ❘ 1


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FEATURES Call on Washington By Timothy Boone..............................................................................................................

2016 LMTA Fall Conference By Ted Griggs.....................................................................................................................

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Work Zone Safety Design By Betsey Tramonte & John Broemmelsiek, Federal Highway Administration...................................................................................

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DOTD Secretary Ride-Along

13 1000 Year Flood...................................................................................................... 14 By Timothy Boone..........................................................................................................

The Great Flood of 2016

16 The Response........................................................................................................... 18 The Recovery............................................................................................................ 20 By Steve Wheeler and Kristin Perpignano.....................................................................

Convoy of Care Aids Local Churches By Timothy Boone..........................................................................................................

Samaritan's Purse Aids in Flood Recovery By Timothy Boone..........................................................................................................

Lessons Learned...Communication, Cooperation, & Planning By Ted Griggs.................................................................................................................

LMTA Select Committee on Highway Funding By Cathy Gautreaux.......................................................................................................

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DEPARTMENTS From the Executive Director: By Cathy Gautreaux ..................................... 5 Advertiser Resource Index ........................................................................ 28 Calendar of Events ................................................................................... 28 New LMTA Members ................................................................................ 28

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Open Road is owned by the Louisiana Motor Transport Association and published four times a year. For more information, contact the LMTA at 225-928-5682.

PUBLISHER Stacie Buhler staci.buhler@louisianatrucking.com

EXECUTIVE EDITOR Cathy F. Gautreaux cathy.gautreaux@louisianatrucking.com

CREATIVE DIRECTOR Kristin Perpignano kristin.perpignano@louisianatrucking.com

PRODUCTION EDITOR Dana P. Weidman

dana.weidman@louisianatrucking.com

PHOTOGRAPHER John Ballance

john.ballance@louisianatrucking.com

ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Lisa Busceme lisa.busceme@louisianatrucking.com

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Ted Griggs, Olivia McClure, Steve Wheeler, Timothy Boone

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS

Melissa Parrino, Jamey Trahan, Jami Williams, Angela Roberson, Chad Yank Andres, Kurt Buhler, Amy Sandifer, Jill Vogt, Kristin Perpignano, Steve Wheeler, Dr. Leslie Andermann, DVM, Mallory Morgan

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Cathy F. Gautreaux

ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES Dana P. Weidman

MEMBER SERVICES Bridget V. Roussell

LMTA OFFICERS Terry Warren CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD Aeropres Corporation

John Austin PRESIDENT Bengal Transportation Services, LLC Andrew Guinn, Jr. 1ST VICE PRESIDENT PAI Material Handling, LLC

Gary Gobert 2ND VICE PRESIDENT Lake City Trucking Steve Sievert SECRETARY Southern Tire Mart Doug Plate TREASURER Dupré Logistics

Judy Smart VICE PRESIDENT AT LARGE RoadRunner Towing & Recovery, Inc. Kary Bryce ATA VICE PRESIDENT Preferred Materials, Inc.

letter from the

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR THE GREAT FLOOD OF 2016 2016 will be defined as an historic year in so many ways…most notably for the Great Flood for the state of Louisiana and for the nation, the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States. Both events took us by surprise... This issue is dedicated to the people of Louisiana impacted by the Great Flood of 2016 – which we all hope will not occur again for another 1000 years. The devastation, the loss, the tragedy felt by so many close to us – including our own magazine staff who share with you their personal experience in this issue. We wanted to capture forever the spirit of our people enduring this life-altering event that spared no one – regardless of race, age, sex or economic status. As always, our industry responded to the call to help the flood victims who were desperate for basic human necessities like food, water, clothing – all delivered post haste by truck. How proud I was to help facilitate the delivery of so much to so many. Unfortunately, we have had way too many opportunities to perfect our response to disasters. Yet each time we manage to learn something new and meet new partners who share the desire to help those in need. This time I was blessed to meet the wonderful people associated with “Samaritan’s Purse” – who are so worthy of the special article in this issue. As we continue the transition from disaster response to some degree of normalcy – whatever that is – our state officials are now faced with increased fiscal challenges. We started off the year with a fiscal crisis and now end the year with fiscal challenges further complicated with the disaster. True to our nature, Louisianans are incredibly resilient and will rise to meet those challenges. We have a lot of work ahead of us and many reasons to be thankful. For now, enjoy the holidays with family and friends to embrace our recovery together as a state. As a country, we look forward to launching a new era in our history with President-Elect Donald Trump at the helm. With his election, we witnessed the awakening of a populace who proved that every vote counts. On behalf of the staff and Board of Directors, we wish you a very safe and happy holiday.

Louisiana Motor Transport Association (LMTA) is a Louisiana association of trucking companies, private carrier fleets and businesses which serve or supply the trucking industry. LMTA serves these companies as a government affairs representative before legislative, regulatory and executive branches of government on issues that affect the trucking industry. The association also provides public relations services and serves as a forum for industry meetings and membership relations. For information contact LMTA at: Louisiana Motor Transport Association, Inc. 4838 Bennington Avenue • PO Box 80278 Baton Rouge, LA 70898 • Phone: 225-928-5682 • Fax: 225-928-0500 www.louisianatrucking.com

Cathy F. Gautreaux LMTA Executive Director

Open Road Q4 2016 ❘ 5


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By Timothy Boone BEN HOGAN MADE A commitment last year to be a more active member of the Louisiana Motor Transport Association. So when the opportunity arose for him to make a trip to Washington, D.C., as part of the annual Call on Washington, he agreed to go. “It was time well spent,” said Hogan, who has owned Dedicated Transportation LLC of Lafayette for the past 17 years. Hogan was one of 10 LMTA members who made the trip this year, which happened in mid-September. The members met with most of Louisiana’s Congressional delegation to talk about issues that are crucial to the trucking industry. This year’s visit was focused on two topics: correcting unclear language regarding hours of service and reinforcing the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994 to make sure states can’t impose different laws on truck drivers. The hours of service issue is focused on clarifying rules regarding truckers’ use of a 34-hour restart. A Congressional appropriations bill passed in late 2015 was intended to stay limitations of the restart while the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration studies their effectiveness. But the bill not only limited the FMCA’s ability to restrict drivers to once-per-week use of the restart and inclusion of 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. rest periods, it may have nullified the restart entirely. The House and Senate have passed various fixes and the goal is to get a version passed during the Congressional lame duck session, either as part of the appropriations bill for the U.S. Department of Transportation or in an omnibus spending bill “We just want to be left alone,” Hogan said.

The F4A issue deals with an attempt by the state of California to apply its minimum wage and rest break laws on truckers. According to the bill that set up the Federal Aviation Administration law, only the federal government can write the rules for the interstate trucking industry. Hogan said he was impressed that he got a chance to sit down and discuss in-depth issues that are important to his industry with members of Congress. “The fact that they were receptive enough to say that they understand what we’re saying and will consider our opinions means a lot to me,” he said. “Some members said they would vote on the matters the way we want them to.” Randy Guillot, president and coowner of Jefferson-based Triple G Express, said trips like the Call on Washington are important. “There’s nothing better than a message delivered by constituents,” he said. “Members of Congress want to hear that and they want to see it.” Because this year is an election year and a new president and Congress will be coming to Washington in 2017, Guillot said the scope of issues the truckers wanted to discuss was limited. “Next year, there will be a different agenda,” he said. “What’s going on in Washington depends on what we discuss.” Guillot, who said he’s been making the trip for about 10 years, said truckers are always well received by the state’s Congressional delegation. The LMTAs trip to Washington overlapped with a similar visit from Mississippi truckers to their Congressional delegation, he said. That allowed for a chance to talk about industry issues with representatives from a neighbor-

ing state. “I got to have some personal conversations with folks from Mississippi that were productive from a political and business standpoint,” said Guillot, a former LMTA chairman and a vice chairman of the American Trucking Associations. Chris Spear, president and chief executive officer of the ATA, said regular meetings with Congressional leaders are crucial. "Our industry is fortunate to have employers, employees and voters in every state and congressional district to help tell the trucking story,” Spear said. “ Most associations in Washington hold one or two 'fly-ins' every year, while ATA hosts state associations nearly every week that Congress is in session - bringing dozens of trucking industry professionals and executives to Capitol Hill to talk about our issues. That steady drumbeat of advocacy is critical to how ATA helps Congress shape and move policy forward." Hogan said he would encourage other LMTA members to be part of the Call on Washington if they get the opportunity. He noted there were other benefits to the two day visit. “It was a very educational trip,” he said. “You get to see how the House and the Senate work. It’s almost like a government educational trip.” T

Open Road Q4 2016 ❘ 7


sive backlog of infrastructure projects, the myths about why that backlog exists and plans for making oversize/overweight permit fees more uniform. In addition, the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles unveiled an employer notification system that will let trucking companies know within 24 hours if a driver's license status changes. Officials from the Federal Highway Administration discussed how to reduce work-zone accidents; a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration representative provided an update on recently enacted regulations; Louisiana State Police officials reported on mobile scales and inspections and warned of reduced weight limits on bridges affected by August’s floods; LMTA’s general counsel suggested trucking companies pass on business interruption insurance because the coverage is so limited; and a Wal-Mart executive offered an overview of the company’s driver fatigue management program. For Wilson, the big takeaway from the Shreveport-to-Lake Charles ride-along?

Transportation officials and experts discussed a number of ideas, including an indexed fuel tax to fund road construction and transportation management plans that keep truckers safe in work zones at LMTA’s Fall Transportation Conference. DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson kicked off the presentations with a talk that that touched on what he learned from a ride-along in an 18-wheeler during National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, proposals for funding Louisiana’s mas-

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“In less than a mile on I-20, I saw two vehicles jump in front of less than 15 feet ahead of where we are, and I thought, ‘Man, this is a whole different world than sitting in a fourdoor vehicle or a two-door sedan,’” Wilson said. More thought will also be required to overcome Louisiana’s transportation issues, including the myth that the state has enough money, Wilson said, if only DOTD properly distributed the funding and improved efficiency. The problem is there’s no excess to redistribute and no ef-


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ficiency moves, such as cutting jobs or selling state-owned cars, that can pay for a new bridge or interstate, he said. In the last 12 years, DOTD has cut more than 1,000 jobs, but those savings were offset by increase costs for retirement benefits and insurance. One possible solution is a higher gas tax. Each penny added to the current 20-cent tax generates $30 million. The idea has been floated by a state task force appointed by Gov. John Bel Edwards and co-chaired by Wilson. Another area of concern for truckers is work-zone accidents. There were 702 work-zone fatalities in 2015, and 239 involved large trucks, said Betsy Tramonte, safety programs coordinator for the FHWA’s Louisiana division. Five of those fatal accidents took place in Louisiana, and one involved a large truck. John Broemmelsiek, traffic operations engineer for the FHWA, said roads and bridges carry more traffic than ever and that will only increase in the future. A well-designed transportation management plan can help prevent work-zone accidents like those that took place a couple of years ago on I-12 in Livingston Parish, he said. But the plan’s components – the minimum widths for lanes and shoulders, taper lanes, changes in speed zones, and alternate routes – should be worked out in advance.

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“You need to be sure your voice is heard,” Broemmelsiek said.

Transportation, Broemmelsiek said. Use social media to get the word out about new zones or problem areas.

That can be difficult in design-build contracts, which don’t always include those details in the bid.

Paige Paxton of OMV said the employer alert system, still in the demo phase, will give trucking companies what they need to quickly identify drivers whose license status has changed. T

To make sure work-zone standards are followed, contact the LMTA or the regional offices of the Department of

Open Road Q4 2016 ❘ 9


W

By Betsey Tramonte & John Broemmelsiek, Federal Highway Administration

ork zones present special challenges for drivers of larger vehicles, especially larger commercial motor vehicles (CMVs). Large trucks are generally overrepresented in work zone crashes nationally.

In 2014, only 8 percent of all fatal crashes involved large trucks but large trucks were involved in 35 percent of fatal work zone crashes in that same year. For purposes of crash data, the US DOT defines large trucks as any medium or heavy truck, excluding buses and motor homes, with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) greater than 10,000 pounds. Large trucks are overrepresented in work zone crashes for several reasons. More frequently, these types of vehicles are found around work zones due to the nature

of construction. They travel more frequently when work zones are active, i.e. during nighttime lane closures on the interstate. In addition to their increased presence in and around work zones, larger vehicles have certain characteristics that add additional considerations in work zones due to height and width. Many large truck-involved fatal work zone crashes occur on rural and urban highspeed facilities. According to data from 2010 to 2012, on rural interstates, large trucks were involved in more than 50 percent of fatal work zone crashes that occur during the day time (6am to 7pm). In urban areas, large trucks were involved in about one-third of fatal work zone crashes on interstates and freeways occurring during the nighttime (7pm to 6am) (Work Zone Safety Consortium, July 2016). Fatal crashes involving large trucks in work zones are on the rise nationally. In 2014, 235 large trucks were involved in fatal crashes in work zones, representing a 27 percent increase from 2013.

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There are certain characteristics of larger vehicles that can present challenges in work zones. Larger trucks are heavier with a higher center of gravity, larger blind spots, lower acceleration and deceleration rates and greater distance between the driver’s eye and the vehicle’s headlights. Signs and markings appear less bright to truck drivers due to the greater angle, as pictured on next page:


To appropriately address work zone safety and the challenges large trucks present, work zone planning is essential. In 2012, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development adopted a policy to incorporate Transportation Management Plans (TMPs) into all construction projects. A transportation management plan is a set of coordinated strategies to manage the work zone impacts of a highway construction project. Depending on the scale and scope of the project, a TMP consists of three components: a traffic control plan, a traffic operations plan and a public information and outreach plan. For each of the three components of a TMP, strategies should be identified to address large truck impacts in work zones. The following chart matches examples of strategies for large trucks to TMP components:

Highway designers should always consider the impacts to all users in work zones, especially larger trucks. For more examples of strategies to mitigate work zone impacts, please visit FHWA’s Office of Operations website dedicated to TMPs, www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/wz/ resources/final_rule/tmp_examples/tmp_dev_resources. htm. The Federal Highway Administration has numerous resources available for large trucks and work zone safety. Please visit the Large Trucks in Work Zones webpage, www.workzonesafety.org/work_zone_topics/heavy-vehicles/ for more information. T

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from Dupre Logistics when he hauled fuel from south of Lafayette to Baton Rouge. The trips gave Wilson a different appreciation for road conditions compared to the perspective you get behind the wheel of a car. “I understand what it means now to have a good road to someone whose work space is the roadway and not an office,” said Wilson, who served as chief of staff to the DOTD secretary for 10 years before Gov. John Bel Edwards named him as head of the department. Things like rural roads that lack shoulders and centerline rumble strips took on a new meaning, he said.

Wilson said the experience won’t change DOTD policy overnight, but it does allow him to incorporate another level of consideration when he’s looking at things like road design and construction. “I think it’s a step in the right direction for us to not take the freight industry for granted in terms of being a user,” he said. “It changes my perspective a little bit on what can be done.”

By Timothy Boone

T

o mark National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, Dr. Shawn Wilson, Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, decided to go along for a ride in a couple of 18-wheelers.

Wilson, in his first year as head of the DOTD, road with Quality Transport during the week of Sept. 11 when they transported a load of fly ash from DeSoto Parish to the Sasol North America chemical complex in Westlake. Later that week, he accompanied a driver

The DOTD also teamed up with Lamar Advertising to post messages on the company’s digital billboards showing appreciation to truck drivers. “There’s very little we can do in terms of giving away permits or free gas, but we can at least say thank you,” Wilson said. “No one ever thinks about the person driving the truck when they get their boxes.” National Truck Driver Appreciation week won’t happen again until September 2017, but Wilson said he’s already giving some thought about what he plans on doing. He may ride along with a truck working in the agriculture industry, because they use different routes and vehicles than people who are transporting fuel and construction materials. “There also may be something along the lines of riding with people who work for commercial carriers, like UPS or FedEx,” he said. That could lead to new insights in terms of how roads are designed for urban areas. T

Open Road Q4 2016 ❘ 13


1000 year flood

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Open Road Q4 2016 ❘ 15


Open Road Staffers Steve Wheeler and Kristin Perpignano Share Firsthand Experiences

Steve Wheeler walks alongside a boat carrying his wife and granddaughter

EVERYTHING CHANGED ON SATURDAY, AUG. 13. The sharp sound of my cell phone ringing at 4:30 a.m. roused me from a deep sleep. Fumbling into consciousness, I mumbled, “Hello?” “Dad! We’ve lost everything! The water’s coming in fast! We’re trying to get out. I have the baby on the front seat of the car beside me. I’m not sure we can make it.” Before I could respond to my panicked daughter’s voice, the phone went dead… It was a full 45 minutes before I got the next call. The longest 45 minutes of my life. My daughter, her husband, their 3-year-old son and 2-month old premature infant daughter had made it safely to a convenience store, but they were trapped there, surrounded by rapidly rising floodwater. But I was trapped in my neighborhood too, desperate and unable to help. And so began “The Great Flood of 2016” for my family. Mother Nature dropped up to 28 inches of water on the Baton Rouge area in three days. Although there

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were close calls, everyone in my family made it out that night. We huddled together at my other daughter’s house in Walker and thanked God for keeping us safe. The record-setting flood left 13 people dead and untold millions of dollars in property damage to our communities. All but two of the 27 homes in my Denham Springs neighborhood flooded, some getting up to three feet of filthy, brown coffee-colored water inside. Our house got about 10 inches. The water in my daughter’s Central home rose to nearly 7 feet, destroying everything inside. Thankfully, she had flood insurance and will be able to replace her home. Like so many others, however, my home was not in a flood zone so I had no flood insurance. I can’t afford to pay a contractor to repair my home, so I will be doing most of the repairs myself. I’m sure there will be things that I don’t know how to do, but I’ll figure it out. Despite “The Great Flood of 2016,” I still feel blessed. My wife and I are Ok, my kids are Ok and my grandkids are Ok. We’ve been blessed by fantastic friends near and far with prayers, gift cards and all manner of support. I grew up in and around Baton Rouge and was graduated from Lee High and LSU. I’ve seen nothing in my 59 years that compares to this flood. But we’re a tough bunch here in Louisiana. It will take time and lots of money, but we will make it through this. Together. With God’s help, we will go home again. Steve Wheeler is a contributing writer for Open Road magazine.


Again, I was amazed at the calmness with which she hopped out of bed, looked outside, let out a little gasp, and began packing. Why was I the only person whose bravery was had crumpled? I mindlessly tossed some clothes into a bag (yoga pants; why did I only own yoga pants?) as Jeremy returned with the news that if we wanted to get out, we'd have to leave now. We loaded our two slobbery, excitable dogs into the back seat of my SUV with Lily. Jeremy started the car and we slowly inched down the driveway into the murky water below. I still don’t know exactly how we managed to make it. My car glided through the deluge. Were the tires even touching the ground? Waters lapped against the windows as we passed people in boats who stared at us in disbelief. One man shook his head as if to say, “It’s your funeral.” But desperation fueled us. We had to go on.

IT STARTED WITH RAIN. Of course, this is nothing new in Louisiana. After a week, however, we were were all rather tired of the overcast skies, the saturated lawns, and the thunder that predictably rolled in each afternoon, briefly cutting through the thick August heat. By Friday evening the flash flood warnings were coming so often I shut my phone off before climbing into bed, determined not to let the incessant buzz interfere with a good night’s sleep. We rose late the next morning, and began our leisurely Saturday routine. Started the coffee. Let the dogs out. The minute I turned my phone on, I was inundated with messages. “Are you ok?” “Do you have power?” “Did you get out?” Did I get out? Out of where? Huh? That was when opened my front door and discovered that overnight, my street had become a river. The silence of our usually bustling, happy neighborhood was deafening. Waist-high water crept up the driveway. I had only one thought: We’ve got to get out of here. I ran into the bedroom and roused my sleeping partner, Jeremy, whispering urgently, “Wake up...the neighborhood’s flooded...we’re trapped, we have to act fast…” With the serenity of a saint, he actually poured a cup of coffee before wading out into the flood waters to survey the situation. I took a deep breath and went into my daughter, Lily’s room. As calmly as I could, I croaked, “Baby, I don’t want you to get worried, but the street is flooded and we need to pack a few things and probably leave the house.”

We made it to a slightly higher patch of road that was still dry and idled for a minute, catching our breath. Ahead was the only route out of our subdivision, and it was submerged as far as we could see. There was a truck in front of us, piled high with people and furniture. The driver got out and ambled to Jeremy’s window, asking if we were going to attempt to get out in our car. He nodded. “Well, follow us, then.” I will never forget the kind reassurance of that man’s face. Were it not for that truck leading us through the flooded road, pushing the wake of water out of the way for us, I am not sure we’d have made it. I don’t even know who the man was, and I haven’t seen him since. The drive seemed to take hours. Lifetimes. Water began to seep in through the floor. Finally, miraculously, we reached a main road that was dry. We would find out later that within 45 minutes, it too would be swallowed up by relentless floodwater. We were the last people to make it out of our neighborhood by car. It was only then that I allowed myself to cry. I cried with gratitude for our survival, mostly. But I also cried for what I knew I had lost. For what everyone around me had lost. It’s just stuff, I told myself. The important things are right here, in this car. And I do know this, I do. I also know that our commuity willl come back from this. But we will never quite be the same. Kristin Perpignano is a freelance graphic designer and the creative director for Open Road magazine. She is pictured here with her partner gearing up to start demolition on her house.

Open Road Q4 2016 ❘ 17


the response

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Open Road Q4 2016 ❘ 19


the recovery

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Open Road Q4 2016 ❘ 21


By Timothy Boone THOUSANDS OF VOLUNTEERS RESPONDED TO THE MID-AUGUST FLOODS THAT SWAMPED MUCH OF SOUTH LOUISIANA, DONATING THEIR TIME, TALENTS AND MUCH-NEEDED SUPPLIES. Herschel Evans, a driver with Holland Inc. out of Atlanta was one of the people who helped, hauling a

Five truckloads of supplies headed from Atlanta to South Louisiana in late August. Monica Martin, an administrator with Live Oak, said the supplies her church received as part of the convoy were “very, very appreciated.” Martin said Live Oak was never intended to serve

truckload of bleach, diapers and miscellaneous supplies to Live Oak United Methodist Church in Watson. He was accompanied by his wife, Holli, when he hauled the 40,000 pounds of goods.

as a shelter. But when everything around the church flooded, hundreds of people began to show up. “We had almost 400 people show up during a three day period,” she said.

“I’m not a rich guy, but I enjoy helping people,” said Evans, who has 22 years of driving experience. “If I see that people have a need and I’ve got the ability to do something about it, I do it.”

Along with hundreds of people showing up needing shelter, Live Oak started getting donations. “Everything imaginable started showing up,” she said. The church’s family life center was turned into a distribution center, with donated items piled 8 feet high.

Evans served as the load master and dispatcher for the “Convoy of Care”, a volunteer effort led by the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE), Atlanta TV station WSB-TV and Atlanta-area law enforcement organizations. Organizers reached out to the Georgia Motor Transport Association for help in hauling all of the donated items to Baton Rouge churches. Evans, who serves as a member of the Georgia Road Team and America’s Road Team, asked the president of Holland if he could participate in the convoy. “He said yes pretty quick,” Evans said. Four other companies donated equipment to the convoy: 7 Hills Transport, Syfan Logistics, US Battery Mfg. and Cardinal Logistics. “When something like this comes along, it’s enjoyable to be involved,” Evans said.

22 ❘ Open Road Q4 2016

That allowed Live Oak to set up a thrift store and pantry to help people who escaped flooding with just the clothes they were wearing. “We were able to get food and clothes to people and we would have never been able to do it without the likes of the many truck drivers who drove for days,” Martin said. The Church in St. Amant was also helped by the convoy. Chuck Robb, who serves as campus pastor, said all of the non-perishable items and cleaning supplies were needed. “Within a day, it had all gone to different distribution points,” Robb said. “They did a great service.” Evans said he was pleased to help the people affected by the floods. “The folks in Louisiana, I’ve had a lot of dealings with them and they’re the best people you can find,” he said. “I know that if folks in Georgia needed help, they would be glad to help.” T


Samaritan’s Purse decided several years ago to get involved in providing equipment and parts for equipment because they saw how quickly those items got gobbled up by contractors in the wake of a disaster. Plus, many times disasters shut down local hardware stores.

By Timothy Boone

Samaritan’s Purse sends other equipment, such as shower units and commercial cooking trailers that serve meals to volunteers. The organization uses a number of different methods to determine if it needs to respond to a disaster, from watching cable TV news coverage to relying on churches that are familiar with Samaritan’s Purse. “Ultimately, 90 to 95 percent of the time, we have a staff person on the ground gathering information,” Critcher said. “We’ve partnered with them before and we trust what they’re saying.”

O

ne of many groups that responded to the August floods that affected hundreds of thousands of South Louisiana residents was Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief organization led by Rev. Franklin Graham of Billy Graham Ministries. The organization sent 53-foot trailers to Baton Rouge, Lafayette and Gonzales, said Ricky Critcher, director of North American Ministries and U.S. Disaster Relief. Critcher said the two story trailers, which are similar to the rigs that a NASCAR team uses, are “rolling hardware stores” containing items such as chainsaws, drills, batteries, ladders, wheelbarrows, heavy-duty tarps, protective suits and masks. “Our equipment is set up and provided to offer the tools, equipment and know-how for volunteers who come in and help with the cleanup,” said Critcher, who has been with Samaritan’s Purse for more than 4 ½ years.

Since 1998, more than 83,000 volunteers associated with the North Carolina based charity have aided 28,000 American families. “We are a Christian organization and we are there to represent Jesus Christ,” Critcher said. “We are the hands and feet of Jesus.” Most of the equipment is driven by volunteers. “It doesn’t happen by chance,” Critcher said. “It’s amazing that we are blessed by God to have volunteers that help people they don’t even know and provide hope and help to them.” The units Samaritan’s Purse sent to Lafayette and Gonzales have moved on. But the organization is staying in East Baton Rouge Parish, having partnered with Greenwell Springs Baptist Church to help out with the ongoing flood recovery. In East Baton Rouge alone, nearly 1,950 volunteers have logged more than 57,000 hours of service with Samaritan’s Purse. “We’re committed to a large rebuild. We’ll be there for close to a couple of years, rebuilding homes and doing case management. The people that we’re helping don’t have the money to pay a contractor,” he said. About 20 volunteers are taking part in the rebuild. T

Open Road Q4 2016 ❘ 23


LESSONS LEARNED... COMMUNICATION, COOPERATION, & PLANNING

C

By Ted Griggs

reating focused real-time information for truckers, including a truckingonly version of the 511 Traveler Information system, and better disaster planning were among the biggest lessons from August’s record floods. Dr. Shawn Wilson, secretary of the Department of Transportation and Development, said within a year, he would like to see a Freight 511 system that allows truckers to look at particular freight routes.

As Louisiana Motor Transport Association Executive Director Cathy Gautreaux has pointed out, a semi driver is looking for the route that lets him deliver the load most efficiently, Wilson said.

“With all that truck drivers deal with, the last thing they need to do is have to sift through a labor-intensive software program to get the information that they absolutely need,” Wilson said.

Wilson said during truck rides across Louisiana, he did a number of interviews with a satellite radio station that targeted truckers, providing real-time information to the trucking community.

Right now the software displays the issues for every road on the map, he said. The data available is very detailed but can result in information overload.

Because of that, Wilson said DOTD is considering making satellite radio conversations a part of its public information efforts during disasters.

24 ❘ Open Road Q4 2016

The flooding also demonstrated how critical it


is to keep the interstates and highways open, Wilson said, whether for evacuation or moving the pumps, materials, supplies and other resources needed to fight the flood. At some point during the flood, there were a number of closures on I-10 across the state. High water also blocked portions of I-12, I-55, I-49 and U.S. 90, creating log jams for people trying to escape the flood and for commerce. That led to a lesson in embracing new technology, he said. The heroes for DOTD were AquaDams and Tiger Dams, water-filled barriers that prevented Woman’s Hospital from flooding and helped keep highways and interstates open. Staci Hoyt, deputy commissioner of the state Office of Motor Vehicles, said the biggest lesson for the agency wasn’t something new, but a reminder that owners of trucks over 20,000 pounds can keep flooded vehicles if they’re totaled. The LMTA got the exemption added to the law, which says if a vehicle receives water damage and is totaled because of a gubernatorially declared emergency or disaster, the insurance company can’t let the customer keep the vehicle, she said. The vehicle has to be dismantled and crushed. “In the event this happens, they (truck owners) need to know the insurance companies are wrong when they tell them they can’t retain their vehicle,” Hoyt said. Maj. Mark Morrison, Transportation Safety Services command inspector, said the Louisiana State Police is always open to learning new things. But the flood didn’t really offer much in the way of new lessons as much as presenting unique challenges. On the interstates, there were areas of dry road, then water, then dry road and then water, he said. A lot of the rescue work took place at night so helicopters couldn’t be used. Rescuers couldn’t go straight through with boats or high-water vehicles. The best solution is to prevent people from being stranded, Morrison said. But there was so much water and it rose so fast that no one foresaw the amount of interstate flooding. Search and rescue teams just did the best they could. However, the State Police was able to work with LMTA

in the days following the flood to escort donated supplies from out-of-state to South Louisiana. “We got them where they needed to be and got them unloaded so I think if the flood did anything, it showed us what we could accomplish by maintaining that relationship that we built with the industry over the years,” Morrison said. James Waskom, director of the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness, said the flooding convinced the state to update its Unified Shelter Plan. GOHSEP had a great plan for evacuating the coast in the event of a hurricane, but the third “no-notice” flash flood this year forced parishes to rip up their shelter plans, he said. For example, Livingston Parish had 26 shelters, but rising water forced some evacuees to move from one shelter to another and then another. The proposed Unified Shelter Plan is now being reviewed by the parishes. Brett Kriger, the Louisiana Municipal Association’s deputy director for disaster recovery, said the flooding demonstrated the importance of pre-disaster planning, particularly for debris removal. “The more time you lose trying to organize debris management after an event, the more difficult it is to recover,” he said. “The debris has to be gotten out first before you can do anything.” With proper planning, a local government can decide many things in advance: the location of staging areas for the trucks and trailers bringing in donated goods, whether weight limits will be waived and how to get federal permission to dispose of items that normally wouldn’t be allowed in certain landfills, Kriger said. Wanda Merling, senior manager of the Disaster Services program for the Animal Rescue Team of The Humane Society of the United States, said the biggest thing to work on is collaboration between all local and state government agencies and non-government groups and large national organizations, Merling said. That cooperation helped the Humane Society rescue around 25 animals, including a potbellied pig left at home in a crate, and transport more than 200 from shelters, Merling said. This allowed the shelters to take in evacuees’ animals without setting up a temporary facility. It also meant pet owners could go to the usual facilities to look for their missing pets, which increased the chances of reunification. T

Open Road Q4 2016 ❘ 25


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By Cathy Gautreaux After only a few meetings of the Governor's Task Force on Transportation Infrastructure Investment, we could see the writing on the wall – trucking was on the menu and we needed to be at the table. The 18-member Task Force established by Governor Edwards was charged with recommending community-driven solutions for Louisiana's transportation infrastructure investment needs by January 1, 2017. LMTA Past Chairman Greg Morrison of Quality Transport in Bossier City is the only highway user on the Task Force.


They are considering any and all possible highway funding mechanisms in their quest to provide guidance to Governor Edwards who is very serious about improving highways in Louisiana. The Task Force has identified a potential need to raise between $600-800 million in new revenue to address the backlog of highway projects, bridge replacement and maintenance needs. To that end, current LMTA President John Austin appointed the “LMTA Select Committee on Highway Funding” to explore various highway funding options and ultimately make a recommendation to our membership and the LMTA Board of Directors on which mechanisms could be supported by the trucking industry. This LMTA select committee has met twice so far and will continue to meet to consider any recommendations of the Governor’s Task Force that will impact the trucking industry. LMTA Executive Director Cathy Gautreaux also recently made a presentation to the Governor’s Task Force with information about the industry – with special emphasis on the gross inequity in the state truck registration and permit system that imposes much lower fees on farm, forestry and gravel trucks of similar weight. LMTA will not finalize our position on any specific highway funding proposals until legislation is filed in the 2017. T

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Environmental Industries Recycling, Inc. Buddy Dupuy Port Allen Private Carrier Glenn’s Towing & Recovery, Inc. Glenn Faul Lafayette Towing & Recovery Oler Relo, LTD Blake Oler Logansport Household Goods Carrier Sleepsafe Drivers Dana Voien Tierra Verde, FL Sleep Apnea & Fatigue Management

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