The Iowa Department of Transportation released its updated long-range plan for our state’s rest areas system.
Highlights of the final recommendations are as follows:
- 30 of the 38 exiting full-service rest areas will remain open
- Of those, 12 older sites to be upgraded prior to 2033
- Closure of eight full-service rest areas at the end of their usable life
- Closure of 10 smaller parking-only rest areas
- Upgrade and expansion of truck parking at six remaining strategically located parking-only rest areas
- Addition of 247 truck parking spaces throughout the system
With this plan, all 10 parking only rest area site closures and seven of the eight full-service closures will occur before 2028 when the facilities reach the end of their useful life.
The process of determining these final outcomes began in 2012. The time came to re-evaluate the needs of rest areas in enhancing a modern transportation system balanced with the need for investment in these facilities. The criticality of each rest area was systematically evaluated, and those aging and least critical sites were recommended for closure. This will allow available funding to be used for the upgrades at more critical and strategically located rest areas sites that are also in need of upgrades.
A number of rest areas in the state had reached an age of 50 years or older and required considerable expense to replace. The process has moved through several phases that included a study and documentation of customer needs and satisfaction with existing rest areas, two public input periods, and an initial implementation strategy for the rest area system.
Following the release of the initial implementation strategy, we heard significant feedback, especially regarding the need for increased truck parking along the transportation system. This allowed DOT to re-evaluate the implementation strategy and coordinate our plans with a freight truck parking study which assessed the current system’s truck parking needs. This study documented the need to add additional truck parking which is reflected as part of the final rest area plan. The decision to close an existing rest area facility is carefully considered and is informed by the Code of Federal Regulation (23 CFR 752).
The full final rest area plan and other supporting information regarding the plan’s process can be found at https://iowadot.gov/restareaplan. To watch an online public meeting and add comments, go to https://bit.ly/RestAreaOnlineMtg
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