South Carolina to open seven non-facility rest areas for commercial vehicles

| 3/7/2008

The South Carolina Department of Transportation has acknowledged the quandary truck drivers face when trying to find a spot to take their full 10-hour rest break, recently announcing plans to open seven new rest areas for truckers to park their rigs.

The sites are for commercial vehicles only and should have between 12 and 16 truck parking spaces available per location, according to Lee Tsiantis, maintenance contracts manager for SCDOT. One new site, on I-95 in Dorchester County, has already opened for truckers to use. The rest areas are for resting only, though, with no restrooms or other facilities.

“All of the sites will be paved and striped solely for truck parking,” Tsiantis told Land Line on Wednesday, March 5.

He said all of the sites will also have lighting and fencing.

The SCDOT received $723,000 from the state’s General Fund in 2007-08 to be appropriated to open these rest areas for commercial motor vehicles. The funding included $637,400 for a one-time allocation for site preparation, and includes $85,600 annually reoccurring money for electricity, lights and vegetation maintenance, according to a SCDOT news release.

SCDOT has also opened the rest areas in an attempt to prevent truckers from using the shoulder of interstate interchange ramps and to protect SCDOT-maintained paved shoulders.

“Federal regulations require truck drivers to have 10 hours off between each driving/on-duty shift … these regulations have placed an increasing demand on available parking facilities,” according to the release.

The new rest area locations include:

  • I-20 in Aiken County (eastbound and westbound), about 20 miles east of North Augusta at Mile Marker 20. Scheduled to open in early April.
  • I-20 in Darlington County (eastbound and westbound), about 12 miles west of Florence at Mile Marker 129. Scheduled to open in early April.
  • I-95 in Jasper County (northbound and southbound), about four miles south of Ridgeland at Mile Marker 17. Scheduled to open in mid-March.
  • I-95 in Dorchester County (southbound only), about three miles south of St. George at Mile Marker 74. Opened Feb. 25.

Tsiantis said the opening of these rest areas is a good solution for everyone traveling South Carolina interstates.

“This is a good solution for everyone – it will make it safer for commercial vehicles as well as the traveling public.”

– By Clarissa Kell-Holland, staff writer