PennDOT Warns Rest Area Closures Will Have “Big Impact” on Truck Parking
Grantville, PA – Two popular Pennsylvania rest stops — along with their on/off ramps — will close on Wednesday for renovations, slated to last a year and a half.
Both the north and southbound rest areas in Grantville on either side of Interstate 81, located at mile marker 79, will close October 16 and will not reopen until summer 2021, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT).
PennDOT officials said the renovations will be extensive, giving the locations a “total makeover” and will include “brand new upgraded facilities,” a place to inflate tires, as well as ramping up truck parking.
PennDOT says the upgrades are both significant and needed.
However, during the closures, PennDOT admitted truck parking in the area may be more challenging.
“This is going to be a big impact, especially with the Thanksgiving travel, the holiday travel, pretty much anyone who drives in this area on a regular basis,” PennDOT spokesperson Fritzi Schreffler said.
“When we lose something, particularly like the Grantville rest area, both sides at the same time, it’s going to make it challenging for drivers to find those locations,” said Kevin Stewart, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association (PMTA).
“From midnight to 5 a.m., while there’s plenty of private truck stops around, what happens is even they exceed capacity during those nighttime hours,” Stewart continued.
Stewart isn’t the only one to voice concerns about what the next 18 months could bring in Dauphin County.
Truckers traveling in the area are vocal about the closures as well.
“I don’t think there’s enough places for trucks. As you can see, they’re lined up, and how many are going down the road?” truck driver Christian Phillips told ABC27.
Phillips said he uses the Grantville rest areas at least twice a week.
“Sometimes, you have to try to pull in somewhere, and hopefully nobody runs you off,” Phillips lamented.
Fellow truck driver Nargul Mameduva echoed Phillips’s sentiments to CBS21.
“[Truckers] have a lot of truck stops, but it’s mostly busy,” Mameduva said. “We can find a free spot or something, but rest areas, some of them have more [parking].”
PennDOT said they have notified truck stops in the area about the Grantville rest stop closures and the increased traffic this may mean for them.