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The Arizona Department of Transportation has temporarily reopened two rest areas to support truckers who are hauling supplies during the coronavirus pandemic.
ADOT recently announced that it has reopened the Parks and Christensen rest areas exclusively to truck drivers.
The Parks rest area, which offers 24 truck parking spots, lies along Interstate 40, about 20 miles west of Flagstaff. The Christensen rest area offers 20 parking spots and is located on I-17 in Munds Park, which is about 16 miles south of Flagstaff.
“ADOT has reopened these two rest areas specifically to support truckers while they are working overtime to deliver necessary food and supplies during the coronavirus pandemic,” ADOT spokesman Ryan Harding said. “ADOT is looking to do all it can to support those that are helping the relief efforts.”
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey issued a stay-at-home order March 30. According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, 2,575 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the state as of April 7.
The Parks rest area has reopened. (Arizona Department of Transportation)
ADOT crews have restriped the parking lots at the Parks and Christensen rest areas and have brought in portable toilets, hand-washing stations and trash bins. Staff members will be stationed at the rest areas for a few hours every day.
“Longhaul truckers are working tirelessly to support our nation during this difficult time, and we will do all we can to support them,” ADOT Director John Halikowski said. “Opening these temporary rest stops provides a place for drivers to get the rest they need as they help all of us.”
Interstates 40 and 17 are key freight routes in Arizona. I-40 is a major east-west corridor that runs from Southern California to the North Carolina coast; it passes through Arizona for more than 350 miles. I-17 is a north-south route linking Phoenix and Flagstaff.
Arizona Trucking Association President Tony Bradley described the rest stops in the Flagstaff area as “about a truck day away” from Los Angeles, meaning they are in a key location for truckers looking for a place to take a break.
“Particularly at this time, when truckers are trying to get necessary medical supplies, medicine and food to the American public, it’s especially important that we give them adequate ability to rest when they need to,” Bradley said. “You don’t want them to have to look a long way to find a safe place to park.”
Parking availability — or lack thereof — is a concern for the trucking industry. If a trucker runs out of service hours, he or she will sometimes park in an unsafe location, such as the shoulder of a highway or ramp. Truck parking ranked No. 5 on the American Transportation Research Institute’s Top Industry Issues report, released Oct. 6.
The recently reopened rest areas closed (Parks shuttered in 2009, Christensen in 2002) because of the services available in the Flagstaff area and along interstates 40 and 17. All of ADOT’s other rest stops, including Meteor Crater rest area, which is 45 miles east of Flagstaff, remain open to the public. According to ADOT, there are no plans to reopen either the Parks or Christensen rest areas permanently.
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