Montana DOT seeks comments on rest area plan

By Clarissa Hawes, Land Line staff writer | 8/4/2014

Professional truck drivers are urged to comment on the Montana Department of Transportation’s plan to address its rest areas and the critical truck parking spaces it provides in the state.

Sheila Ludlow, project manager for the MDT, said the agency is seeking input on prioritizing its needs at approximately 80 facilities in the state.

MDT recently announced the deadline had been extended to Aug. 18 to comment on a draft of its Rest Area Plan.

Ludlow told Land Line that the agency strives to provide safe stopping opportunities every hour in the state. She said some of the sites in the state are closed during the winter months, which limits parking options.

“We are aware that some of the sites experience parking overflow onto the shoulder because of weather conditions in the state,” she said.

“Our priorities include addressing aging facilities, which are more than 40 years old, addressing the gaps where a rest area is needed and other long-term issues,” she said. “Safety is a top priority at MDT.”

She said one advocacy group has proposed an initiative to add walking trails at rest areas undergoing rehabilitation or at future facilities built in the state. Ludlow said that while driver fatigue is a top priority in the state, walking trails would be a costly expense to construct and maintain.

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