Truck parking added at rest areas in Florida

By Clarissa Kell-Holland, Land Line staff writer | Wednesday, January 11, 2012

In the past few years, the solution for many states struggling with budget woes was to close rest areas and eliminate the critical truck parking they provide.

However, some states are attempting to address this issue. For instance, in Florida both truckers and the Florida Department of Transportation agree that truck parking is scarce.

Recently, two rest areas, which were torn down nearly a year ago on Interstate 75 in Pasco County, FL, reopened in December 2011. The rest areas include more truck parking and fewer car spaces.

The northbound site, located at mile marker 278, north of State Road 56 at exit 275, includes 32 new truck parking spots, totaling 53 spaces. The southbound rest area, south of County Road 54 at mile marker 278, includes 27 new truck spaces for a total of 53 spaces.

“Studies revealed that there were not enough truck parking spaces and that the passenger car/recreational vehicle areas were underutilized,” said John McShaffrey, public information officer for FDOT. “Additionally, the lack of truck parking and vehicle circulation issues were causing traffic exiting to the rest areas to sometimes back up into mainline traffic, creating hazardous conditions.”

McShaffrey said the reconstruction of the rest areas and new parking areas has “addressed the traffic/parking issues.”

According to FDOT, the rest area reconstruction project cost $25.1 million. 

Both sites feature picnic pavilions, vending machines and paved dog walk areas, as well as fully-enclosed dog parks.

McShaffrey said the rest areas include two dog parks for both small and large dogs.

“The dog parks are quickly becoming very popular with travelers and their pets,” he said.

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