Truck traffic on I-75 in Cobb County.

Truck traffic on I-75 in Cobb County.

Credit: Georgia DOT

The coronavirus pandemic is generating all-time high truck traffic on Georgia’s interstate highways, state Commissioner of Transportation Russell McMurry said Thursday.

Georgians worried about exposure to COVID-19 have switched from shopping at brick-and-mortar stores and restaurant dining to ordering food and retail goods online.

“There’s a lot of freight being moved because … everything is on your doorstep,” McMurry told members of the State Transportation Board.

After a huge drop-off in traffic volumes early in the pandemic, overall traffic has recovered to near normal on the interstates and is down only 5% to 10% on state highways, McMurry said.

However, there is a difference in commuting patterns in metro Atlanta, he said.

“It doesn’t appear [commuters] are out as early as they used to be,” McMurry said. “But it builds up in the afternoons.”

Board member Johnny Floyd of Cordele said the growth in truck traffic is making it increasingly difficult for truck drivers to find places to park.

What to do about the shortage of truck parking is expected to be among the recommendations of the Georgia Freight & Logistics Commission when it issues its final report later this month.

The panel of Georgia lawmakers, local government officials and logistics industry executives has been meeting for the last two years to look for ways to move freight more efficiently through Georgia.

This story comes to GPB through a reporting partnership with Capitol Beat News Service.