Unable to meet expensive U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations to keep the aging facilities open, the Missouri Department of Transportation announced on Thursday, May 9, that it will convert the rest areas at Halltown into truck-parking only facilities.
DeAnne Rickabaugh, community relations coordinator for MoDOT, told Land Line on Thursday that the environmental regulations to upgrade the sites’ water and sewer systems was going to cost millions of dollars because they do not have municipal water and currently rely on lagoons.
“It’s another case where we can’t meet the environmental regulations without spending millions of dollars that we really don’t have right now,” said Rickabaugh.
The sites, located on Interstate 44 near mile marker 50, between Joplin and Springfield, will be temporarily closed from Wednesday, May 29, to “around Labor Day,” then reopened as truck-only facilities.
Currently, the eastbound site has spaces for 17 trucks, and the westbound rest area has 20 spaces. Once the buildings are razed, Rickabaugh said MoDOT hopes to add additional truck parking spaces.
“We are definitely not eliminating any spaces and would like to provide as many truck parking places as we can,” Rickabaugh said. “This is the next best alternative – to keep these sites available for truckers because they need a place to park, and it’s a safety issue for us because it keeps trucks off the sides of the highways and ramps.”
Vault (waterless) toilet facilities will be installed at the Halltown sites.
Copyright © OOIDA