Florida postpones expanding I-4 rest areas

| 4/9/2002

Complaints from nearby residents have suspended plans to enlarge two Interstate 4 rest areas near Longwood, FL. Instead, the state Transportation Department wants to find out whether truckers and other motorists can do without them entirely.

Starting April 15, the eastbound and westbound rest areas between Lake Mary Boulevard and State Road 434 will be shut down for two months, according to a published report. The closings will force westbound travelers to drive another 49 miles - to Polk County - to find a rest stop. Eastbound drivers have access to a small, unattended rest area with no facilities near Daytona Beach. There are no truckstops in the area.

When FDOT announced plans to quadruple truck parking, triple car parking and replace existing bathroom buildings with larger facilities, homeowners living nearby complained about the potential for increased noise, pollution and crime.

After tracking travelers' habits during the closure, FDOT could decide to go ahead with the $10 million expansion, let the rest areas continue to operate as they do now or close them.