FHWA grant will allow truck stop to double truck parking

By Clarissa Kell-Holland, Land Line staff writer | 9/9/2011

And while a new truck stop, the Florida 595 Truck Stop in Davie, FL, opened in May, the parking lots are already filled to capacity every night, according to John Tanella, general manager of the 595.

“We had a soft opening in May, but will have our grand opening on Oct. 11,” Tanella told Land Line on Thursday, Sept. 8.

Tanella said they have received a grant for more than $1 million from the Federal Highway Administration to ease their truck parking problem. The grant is to build 90 new truck parking spaces at the site, but Tanella said they are hoping to “add more.”

“We think we can build more than that with the money received,” he said. “We asked to make sure that was OK, and we were told that was fine as long as we didn’t build less than 90 spaces.”

Tanella said he was approached about applying for the grant program by Jeff Weidner of the Florida Department of Transportation, who said the FHWA had this “grant program to improve truckers’ safety and truck parking.” Tanella said FDOT did all of the paperwork necessary to apply for the grant.

“The nearest truck stop of any size near us is about 110 miles north of us,” he said. “Before we were here, many truck drivers who delivered in the Miami area would drive the 110 miles to Fort Pierce where some of the big truck stops are located to stay the night, then drive back down to this area the next day.”

Tanella said that’s a lot of fuel wasted and a safety issue for truckers who are tired but have no place to park.

When Weidner approached Tanella, he said the FDOT official asked a variety questions and requested some traffic impact studies they had done prior to building the truck stop, which is located on 44 acres, 20 of which have been developed.

“What we found in those traffic impact studies was that 750 to 1,000-plus trucks a day would be coming into our truck stop, which was a big incentive for us to go ahead and build here,” Tanella said. “We have a lot of traffic coming out of port (Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale), located about five miles from us and these drivers didn’t have a place to park.”

The 595 truck stop currently has about 130 truck parking spaces and hopes to double that number in approximately 18 months.

Tanella said they don’t actually have a check in hand yet from the FHWA, but the “process has started to work out the logistics.”

“The U.S. Department of Transportation is going to be doing a couple more studies before work starts,” he said. “They are going to be paved, well-lit spaces. These additional spaces are really going to be a big help for the trucking industry and to the economy here in Florida.”