Virginia modifies plan to close rest areas

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The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) on Thursday, May 21, announced a modification of its original plan to close 25 of the state’s 41 interstate highway rest areas as part of a cost-cutting plan to address a budget shortfall.

VDOT says that in response to concerns about truck parking, and about travel distances between facilities on I-81, it decided to scale back the closures to 19 of the safety rest areas and add 225 truck parking spaces at the remaining locations. The agency also says it will replace its two-hour time limit at safety rest areas with a “no overnight parking” policy. In addition, VDOT says it will seek congressional authority to commercialize rest areas.

“Creating new parking and removing two-hour parking restrictions at the remaining safety rest areas is critical for preventing driver fatigue and helping drivers meet federal hours-of-service regulations,” says Richard Holcomb, ATA senior vice president and general counsel. Holcomb was Virginia’s Department of Motor Vehicles commissioner and the governor’s highway safety representative from 1994 to 2001.

The American Trucking Associations and the Virginia Trucking Association opposed the original proposal to close safety rest areas and voiced their concerns to VDOT. For more information, click here or e-mail ATA’s Darrin Roth at droth@trucking.org.