Considering the change a necessary “cost-cutting measure,” the Missouri Department of Transportation has announced that it will “repurpose” two rest areas at Doolittle on Interstate 44 to make truck-only parking sites.
Work was scheduled to begin at the rest areas on Tuesday, Sept. 8, near Doolittle. Both sites are located at mile marker 177. The repurposing will include tearing down the buildings and eliminating approximately 40 car parking spaces heading eastbound and 42 car spots at the westbound site.
However, Christi Turkleson, MoDOT Community Relations Manager, said there are no plans to add any more truck parking spaces to the current number of 15 at each site.
“During this conversion, the current structure, sidewalks, etc., will be removed,” she said. “When completed, the site will have truck parking and vaulted toilet structures only. There will be no picnic area, running water or sidewalks.”
Instead, Turkleson said motorists will be directed to other rest areas and welcome centers in the state.
Previously, the Doolittle rest areas had been maintained by the Innovative Industries Sheltered Workshop.
In all, Turkleson said MoDOT estimates the project should take between two to three months to complete.
“This is definitely a cost-saving measure that will save us some funding,” she said.
– By Clarissa Kell-Holland, staff writer