Kansas plans closure of four rest areas to save on maintenance costs

By Clarissa Hawes, Land Line staff writer | 12/23/2013

Citing expensive maintenance costs, the Kansas Department of Transportation plans to close four rest areas and the critical parking spaces they provide truckers.

Two rest areas near Junction City, Kan., have already been closed to save the state approximately $200,000 per year on maintenance costs. Those rest areas along Interstate 70 were closed on Dec. 11.

Now, two rest areas near Russell, Kan., are on the chopping block. Truckers are urged to provide feedback/comments to KDOT engineers about the proposed closure of the two rest areas, which provide 20 truck parking spaces. Comments, due Jan. 15, 2014, should be emailed to Joe Finley, KDOT District Three Maintenance Engineer at finley@ksdot.org, or to KDOT Area Engineer Kevin Zimmer at KevinZ@ksdot.org.

Barb Blue with KDOT told Land Line on Monday, Dec. 23, that “the parking will not remain open at the rest areas that are closed.”

In a release about the proposed closures, Finley said, “The increase in water usage and costs, and the rest areas are within a few miles of the same services in Russell and Bunker Hill, led us to consider closing the facilities.”

Kristen Brands, public affairs manager for KDOT, told Land Line on Monday, Dec. 23, that of the state’s 303 truck parking spaces at 33 sites, approximately 38 truck parking spaces will be lost if all four rest areas are closed.

Brands said the next rest area along I-70 to the west is WaKeeney, which is approximately 55 miles. The closest rest area to the east is about 37 miles east of Exit 184 along I-70.

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