Critical Idaho rest area to close for repairs

| 4/15/2010

Truckers traveling on U.S. 20 through central Idaho may want to take note that the Timmerman rest area will be closed for repairs for a few months beginning on May 3.

The rest area, located at milepost 178, will receive an estimated $2 million overhaul to add more parking and handicapped-accessible rest rooms.

Nathan Jerke, public information specialist for District 4 of the Idaho Transportation Department, told Land Line, that the agency’s plan is to add five truck and RV parking spaces at rest area.

Currently, Jerke said there are only a total of five parking spaces at the site and all are shared by passenger vehicles, large trucks and RVs.

“The plan is to expand the parking area and separate passenger vehicle parking from trucks and RV parking,” he said.

He said one downfall to closing the Timmerman rest area for approximately four months is that “this is an important one because of its location.”

“It’s at the crossroads of U.S. 20 and Idaho 75 and it’s the only one (rest area) within a 100 miles in any direction,” Jerke said. “It is in an area that is pretty much desert and farmland and there isn’t a whole lot as far as towns for about 30 miles in any direction from the rest area.”

While Jerke said there aren’t any truck stops in the area, there are some small gas stations in neighboring towns.

“Improvements to the rest area have been designed to accommodate growth and additional traffic for at least 20 years,” according to an ITD press release on the Timmerman rest area closure.

Traffic growth is expected to increase 49 percent on U.S. 20 and 47 percent on Idaho 75 over the next 20 years, according to the release.

The rest area is expected to reopen in September.

– By Clarissa Kell-Holland, staff writer