PennDOT Partially Reopening 13 Rest Areas, Truck Parking Will Be Available
Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is partially reopening thirteen rest stops in response to a firestorm of criticism from the trucking community after it abruptly closed them on Tuesday.
Transportation Nation Network (TNN) was the first to report on Tuesday that PennDOT was closing all rest areas statewide to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
The closures set off immediate and intense criticism within the trucking community.
Multiple trucking groups including the American Trucking Associations, the Owner Operator Independent Driver’s Association, and the Small Business in Transportation Coalition sent blistering letters to Pennsylvania officials urging them to reconsider on behalf of the trucking industry.
TNN also first broke the news that the ATA sent a letter late Tuesday evening to President Trump imploring him to intervene and “keep rest stops open.”
TNN can now confirm PennDOT will be partially reopening at least thirteen locations beginning on Thursday.
In an exclusive statement to TNN, Jennifer Kuntch, PennDOT Deputy Communications Director, said PennDOT is “constantly reevaluating” its response to the COVID-19 crisis and recognizes “drivers need and deserve access to rest areas.”
“In order to address safety concerns raised, PennDOT has identified 13 of its 30 rest areas that are most utilized by truckers that will be available again by tomorrow,” Kuntch said. “At these locations, PennDOT will be taking down the barricades on some facilities in critical locations and making them available for truck parking.”
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Kuntch also confirmed portable restroom facilities will be available at these locations as well.
“Each location will have five portable toilets (one of which is ADA-accessible) that will be cleaned once a day,” she said.
Further, electronic message signs will be used near the applicable centers to notify drivers near the opened areas.
However, she noted all indoor facilities will remain closed.
Kuntch left open the possibility that more rest areas throughout the state could also be partially reopened in the coming days.
“We will continue to evaluate and will determine whether additional rest areas can be reopened,” she stated.
TNN also obtained the locations of the rest stops which will be partially reopened and we have provided them below.
- I-81: Luzerne NB/SB, Cumberland NB/SB;
- I-80, Venango EB/WB, Centre EB/WB, Montour EB/WB
- I-79: Crawford NB/SB, Allegheny NB only