Indiana Adds 225 Truck Parking Spots at I-65 Rest Areas
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Truckers traveling in Indiana on Interstate 65 now have more than 200 new parking spaces available to them after Gov. Eric Holcomb and other officials on Oct. 24 opened a revamped Kankakee Welcome Center, which is located about 50 miles south of Gary.
“Indiana lives up to our destination as the Crossroads of America through our top-rated infrastructure and our commitment to getting Hoosiers and visitors to where they need to go,” Holcomb said. “Visitors passing through on I-65 will have a clean, safe and interactive experience.”
New amenities include separate trucker restroom facilities in the truck parking areas, a dog park, children’s play area, adult recreation area, walking trail, art sculpture with wind turbine blades and interior interactive exhibits for visitors.
Noting the critical truck parking shortage in Indiana and throughout the nation, Jennifer Piatt, vice president of the Indiana Motor Truck Association, thanked Holcomb and Indiana Department of Transportation officials for their ongoing actions to improve the situation.
“We commend their dedication to improving road safety, supporting the trucking industry and ensuring the efficient movement of goods throughout the state,” Piatt said. “The ongoing truck parking crisis in Indiana is the focus of growing concern within the transportation industry and has garnered the attention of federal and state authorities. The shortage of spaces has far-reaching consequences that threaten the safety and efficiency of our nation’s supply chain, and it requires urgent attention and action.”
INDOT operates 28 rest areas and welcome centers. It follows a standard of offering travel break opportunities every 100 miles but acknowledges the need for more state and private industry truck parking spaces.
The $40 million revamp to the 35-year-old Kankakee Welcome Center — located at mile marker 231 southbound in Jasper County — added 225 truck parking spots to the previous 40 spots. The project was part of a statewide improvement plan to spend over $600 million in federal funds to update 21 rest areas and welcome centers by the end of fiscal year 2034.
Construction on the new welcome center site included rebuilding the opposite northbound rest area to offer 75 truck parking spaces and the creation of 150 on the southbound side of the interstate.
The new expanded parking lots are part of INDOT’s plan to boost by 80% — or 1,122 new truck parking spaces — the state’s inventory of truck parking spaces. That total currently stands at 1,402 spaces.
The location of the welcome center along Interstate 65 in Indiana. (Google Maps)
In October 2020, Pigeon Creek along I-69 southbound in Steuben County was the first welcome center to be reconstructed and opened to the public. Clear Creek in Vigo County and Black River in Posey County are currently under construction and will have similar amenities to the Kankakee Welcome Center.
Trucks carried 80% of the total 590 million tons of freight that moved through Indiana in 2022, according to the 2023 state freight plan. The top tonnage for highway commodities transported were gravel (15%), cereal grains (11%), base metals (9%), nonmetal mineral goods (6%), motor vehicles (6%) and waste/scrap (5%). Truck cargo is expected to jump 6% in total tonnage by 2045 when Indiana’s freight commodities are estimated to grow to 760 million tons and be valued at $1.09 trillion, with trucks carrying 96% of total cargo values.
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