Ohio to Renovate 17 Rest Areas
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In a ceremony unveiling a revamped Preble County Welcome Center on Interstate 70, DeWine announced his plan May 1 to replace 33 rest area buildings throughout the state by the end of 2026.
“Our rest stops give travelers, truck drivers and families a safe place to rest, which can increase focus and safety when they get back on the road,” DeWine said. “While they’re stretching their legs, we want to share Ohio’s amazing story, and tell them about our innovative Ohioans, beautiful natural resources and exciting attractions. We want them to know Ohio is full of great opportunity.”
Matt Bruning, press secretary at the Ohio Department of Transportation’s Central Office, told Transport Topics that part of the rest area renovation project will involve “evaluating every site and looking for ways to include additional truck parking. We will do so where we can.”
Welcome to Ohio! Today we unveiled the re-imagined Preble County Welcome Center, just inside Ohio's western border. This is part of my vision to greatly improve the traveler experience for the thousands of visitors who stop at Ohio rest areas every day. https://t.co/gXfkrRLeqC pic.twitter.com/PNKgTOrKyq — Governor Mike DeWine (@GovMikeDeWine) May 1, 2023
ODOT has 85 public rest areas located along major highways. These don’t include those independently operated and maintained by the Ohio Turnpike Commission and located along I-80/I-90 and I-76 across northern Ohio.
“Rest areas are a haven for motorists, especially truckers, who need a safe and reliable place to rest. These reimagined rest areas will include better amenities and cleaner, more modern facilities,” Bruning said.
This year, three renovations are planned for the western side of the state in Portage County on I-76, in Washington County on I-77 and in Meigs County on U.S. Route 33.
Ohio has 14,212 truck parking locations, of which 19% are at public facilities. (Ohio Department of Transportation)
The plan for 2024 would see another trio across the central state: on I-70 in Belmont and Muskingum counties and along I-71 in Fayette County.
The largest number of rest areas to be renovated would occur in 2025 in seven locations throughout Ohio: U.S. Route 30 in Van Wert and Wyandot counties, U.S. Route 23 in Marion and Pickaway counties, U.S. Route 33 in Union County, I-75 in Miami County and I-70 in Madison County.
Bruning added that the final project cost is undetermined since many of the sites have not been slated for bidding.
The remaining four rest areas are scheduled for 2026: on I-75 in Auglaize and Butler counties, along I-72 in Delaware County and at I-271 in Summit County.
Ohio has 14,212 truck parking locations, of which 19% are at public facilities (more than 2,700 parking spaces) and 81% at private locations (11,510 parking spaces). Some 75% of the state’s public and private truck parking spaces are located in rural areas.
Truck parking is most difficult to find along the state’s freight corridors and near urban areas.
Source: Ohio Department of Transportation
In addition, a 2021 state truck parking study found that many truck locations were not designed to handle the length and width of today’s trucks.
“At these locations, longer trucks with wider loads have difficulty maneuvering in and out of truck parking facilities and spaces,” the report noted. “Without sufficient space, truck drivers may be forced to drive over curbs or through undesignated areas. Several public truck parking locations also provide parallel truck parking spaces, which are more difficult to park in compared to diagonal parking spaces.”
ODOT also has identified a need to provide better amenities at truck parking locations, especially for drivers on longhaul routes who need overnight parking stays and basic amenities such as lighting, security, restrooms, showers, food options and trash cans.
Transportation planners concluded that one solution is to add truck parking at existing and/or underutilized state facilities.
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