FHWA urges state transportation officials to keep rest areas open
March 25, 2020
Addressing the truck parking crisis that has been exacerbated with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Highway Administration is urging state transportation officials to keep rest areas open.
In a letter to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials dated March 23, FHWA Administrator Nicole R. Nason thanked officials for their work during the pandemic. However, she also encouraged officials “to keep in mind the impact those actions may have on the free flow of products from suppliers to communities or on the health and safety of essential critical infrastructure workers.”
“Placing undue restrictions on the National Network or closing rest areas where professional drivers can rest may risk the safe and timely delivery of medical supplies, food and other essential goods,” Nason wrote in the letter.
Although most states have kept their rest areas open, many have closed the indoor facilities at welcome centers.
Pennsylvania initially shut down all of its rest areas before deciding 13 rest areas at critical locations. Recently, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation opened up 10 more rest areas.
With the nation relying on truckers to deliver critical supplies, including medical supplies and groceries, the trucking industry has been moving non stop while many industries are partially or completely shut down. Higher demand for trucking has led to higher demand for truck parking.
In fact, some local communities are stepping up to the plate to help truckers find a place to park. In Woodland, Wash., Woodland High School is opening up its lot as a makeshift rest area for truckers.
Private truck stops have also been hard at work to ensure truckers have a place to go. Love’s Travel Stop has a webpage dedicated to letting truckers know the latest information about its locations. Pilot Flying J has a similar page, including a list of all restaurant closures at its locations. TravelCenters of America also has a section on its website regarding state-by-state restaurant closures at its centers.
For up-to-date information regarding rest area availability through the nation, check out Land Line’s COVID-19 resource page.