"There you have it. This is why 'truck highway' is full of all those trucks. From what I have heard, it is all fine and good until there is an accident."
If anyone has ever traveled on Interstate 40 from Little Rock, Arkansas to Memphis, Tennessee, they will know what this is all about. For those who love the common carriers known as OTR trucking, they will be in heaven - truck heaven. This stretch of interstate is like something I have never seen. Well actually, that is not true. We saw it last year coming down to Florida. Only this time I really took notice.
It is an amazing sight to see. Coming out of the Memphis area, heading west on I-40, is truck after truck after truck. Every shape and size. Every color. Some singles, some doubles. At times, this parade of trucks stretches to the horizon.
My wife and I chatted about this strange phenomena as we were headed east on I-40. The truck traffic was bad before we hit Little Rock, but the stretch from Little Rock to Memphis was out of this world truck busy. I knew that Fed Ex had their headquarters in Memphis, and there were a boat load of Fed Ex trucks on the road, but many of the trucks were not Fed Ex trucks.
First off, besides Fed Ex having its headquarters in Memphis, it is also home to their "super hub". This "super hub" is no small deal. Each night, every night, between 150 and 200 jets come in for a landing. They are unloaded, packages sorted, put on trucks, and sent on the road (often times, on I-40 headed west.) The 30,000 Fed Ex employees who work at the "super hub" (yes, that is the correct number) handle anywhere from 1.2 to 1.6 million packages a night. It is the second largest air cargo airport in the world.
Besides the Fed Ex "super hub", Memphis is home to the fifth largest inland port in the nation. The inter-modal transfer station is huge. I know - I drove by it. Crane after crane after crane set up to take inter-modal containers off rail cars, and then put them on trucks. Where will this truck traffic go once the container is loaded? Many get on I-40 and head west. Take that traffic, mix it in with all the Fed Ex traffic, and you end up with "truck highway".
There you have it. This is why "truck highway" is full of all those trucks. From what I have heard, it is all fine and good until there is an accident. Then I-40 goes from "truck highway" to the "highway from hell". My take? Needs at least one more lane each way, maybe two. Or - hurry up and get those driver-less trucks on the road.