Heavy Snow Puts Pressure On Roadway-Reliant Companies

A car stuck in the snow delays trafic Thursday on Old Route 63 in Columbia. Across the state, poor road conditions posed challenges for companies. | Photo by Jeff Milewski

For companies whose fortunes hinge on what happens on roadways, Thursday’s winter storm and the resulting deterioration of road conditions across the state meant an uptick in demand and pressure on personnel.

Mike Right, the vice president of AAA Road Assistance Public Affairs, said Thursday the company expected at least a 30-percent increase in the workload compared with a regular day.

“We are overloaded,” Right said. On an average day, AAA staff will respond to anywhere from 1,200 to 1,500 incidents in the whole state, Right said. He said the anticipated number of incidents Thursday was more than 2,000.

Representatives from other area companies declined interviews or could not be reached for comment, providing another indication of the storm’s effects.

A spokeswoman for Overland Park, Kan.-based transport company YRC Worldwide declined an interview request Thursday on the company’s behalf, saying YRC’s focus during the storm was on ensuring the “safety of employees and keeping everything going.” A representative of Springfield-based trucking company Prime Inc. didn’t return a Thursday phone message requesting information about the company’s handling of the storm. An operator at Kansas City-based Auto Tow & Recovery declined to arrange an interview because the company was struggling to keep up with the volume of incoming calls.

AAA’s Right said Friday morning that the company was getting fewer calls than it did Thursday, but AAA was still dealing with situations from Thursday.

“Some abandoned vehicles still need to be taken care of,” Right said. “Some services were pushed off because of the bad road conditions.” He said once the road is clearer, staff members can get to more cars and offer help.

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