I-55 rest area in Missouri to reopen for truck parking only

By Tyson Fisher, Land Line staff writer | Tuesday, September 01, 2015

A rest area off of Interstate 55 North in Fruitland, Mo., will reopen as a truck parking-only facility sometime in the next week, a Missouri Department of Transportation administrator told Land Line.

After an electrical fire destroyed a building at the facility on mile marker 108 this past November, the rest area has undergone some minor restructuring. As of Aug. 31, the rest area will be closed temporarily as crews completely demolish and remove the damaged building and install vault toilets.

Before the fire, the rest area had full amenities for general public use. According to Paul Loftin, MoDOT’s administrator for rest area maintenance contracts statewide, the state was left to decide whether it was cost effective to rebuild the facility for general public.

“It was determined to go ahead and take all the existing structures out and convert that over to truck-only parking rather than having the full amenities there on site,” Loftin told Land Line.

The new rest area will include a concrete vault toilet structure and parking spaces for 12 trucks. The goal is to have parking available by Labor Day weekend. The toilet structure may not be available until shortly after.

Loftin noted that there are future plans to add more spaces to the rest area, but that decision is ultimately determined by available funding.

MoDOT has converted several areas into truck-only parking in recent years.

“Within the past three or four years we have converted other rest area locations that were getting very outdated and were going to cost an extreme amount of money to be able to hook up to a sanitary sewer system,” Loftin said.

For environmental reasons, sewage lagoons were closed and converted to truck-only parking lots. Old waste fields have also been converted to lots for truck parking.

In approximately one month, resurfacing of I-55 in Missouri will occur near the Fruitland rest area, including the rest area ramp and lots. More parking spaces are not expected. Loftin noted that if more spaces are to be created from the resurfacing, it would not be more than two or three.

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