Ohio transportation officials have announced a massive four-year renovation project to rebuild 33 rest areas at 17 locations, with a primary focus on adding truck parking spaces. The plan, announced by Governor Mike DeWine at the unveiling of the revamped Preble County Welcome Center on Interstate 70, aims to replace all 33 rest area buildings throughout the state by the end of 2026. This project is expected to greatly enhance the overall safety and convenience of Ohio’s highway system for all motorists.
“Our rest stops give travelers, truck drivers and families a safe place to rest, which can increase focus and safety when they get back on the road,” DeWine said. “While they’re stretching their legs, we want to share Ohio’s amazing story, and tell them about our innovative Ohioans, beautiful natural resources and exciting attractions. We want them to know Ohio is full of great opportunity.”
Press secretary for the Ohio Department of Transportation, Matt Bruning, was reported saying that the project will involve “evaluating every site and looking for ways to include additional truck parking. We will do so where we can.”
There are 85 Convenient Rest Areas Along Major Highways in Ohio, Operated by ODOT. Keep in mind that the independently operated and maintained Ohio Turnpike Commission runs other rest areas on I-80/I-90 and I-76 in Northern Ohio.
“Rest areas are a haven for motorists, especially truckers, who need a safe and reliable place to rest. These reimagined rest areas will include better amenities and cleaner, more modern facilities,” Bruning said.
This year, three renovations will take place in Portage, Washington, and Meigs County, with another three planned for 2024 in Belmont, Muskingum, and Fayette County. The largest number of renovations will happen in 2025, with seven locations set to be updated. However, the final cost is yet to be determined as some sites haven’t been up for bidding yet.
The state of Ohio has 14,212 truck parking locations, with 19% being public facilities with over 2,700 spaces and 81% at private locations with 11,510 spaces. Unfortunately, a recent study found that many of these locations can’t accommodate the size of today’s trucks.
With the majority of parking spaces located in rural areas, Ohio is working hard to update and improve truck rest areas to provide safe, accessible, and accommodating options for drivers traveling across the state.
“At these locations, longer trucks with wider loads have difficulty maneuvering in and out of truck parking facilities and spaces,” the report noted. “Without sufficient space, truck drivers may be forced to drive over curbs or through undesignated areas. Several public truck parking locations also provide parallel truck parking spaces, which are more difficult to park in compared to diagonal parking spaces.”
ODOT recognizes the importance of improving amenities at truck parking sites for drivers on extended journeys. These include basic amenities such as lighting, security, restrooms, showers, food options, and trash cans. To address this need, transportation planners recommend the expansion of truck parking options at existing and underutilized state facilities. This solution aims to provide drivers with the necessary facilities to make their overnight stays more comfortable and convenient.
Source: Transport Topics