Virginia modifies rest stop closure plan

The Virginia Dept. of Transportation has scrapped its original plan to close 25 of the state’s 41 Interstate highway rest areas. Instead, the state will close just 19 and add 225 truck parking spaces at the remaining locations. The VDOT will also replace its two-hour time limit with a “no overnight parking” policy and ask Congress for permission to commercialize the rest areas.

I applaud VDOT, after taking heat from the American Trucking Assn., the Virginia Trucking Assn., and other trucking groups, for taking steps necessary to ensure truck drivers have a safe and readily accessible place to rest. The addition of 225 parking spaces is also a positive move. Let’s hope that more spaces will be added in the future.

“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,” said ATA senior vp and general counsel Richard Holcomb.

Another positive move, in my eyes, is the move to commercialize the rest areas. Quite likely, a private enterprise could and would run the areas more effectively than any state does. And help address budget shortfalls. In addition, more services may be added and that is a win-win for drivers of any vehicle.

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