Gov. Bob McDonnell and the Virginia Department of Transportation yesterday, April 14, officially reopened the final seven of 19 safety rest areas along state highways that had been closed last year due to funding cuts.
Eighteen facilities closed last July and the final facility – the Interstate 66 West Manassas Welcome Center – closed in September. Upon the current administration’s decision to restore the safety rest areas, four reopened in mid-February and eight more reopened in mid-March. The reopening of the final seven rest areas has restored all of Virginia’s rest areas to full operations.
Virginia’s previous administration scaled back proposed rest area closures from 25 to 19, replaced its two-hour time limit at rest areas with a “no overnight parking” policy and added 225 truck parking spaces at the 23 areas that were not closed.
The American Trucking Associations and the Virginia Trucking Association backed reopening the rest areas one day ahead of schedule. “We sincerely appreciate Governor McDonnell’s commitment to highway safety on the important issue of safety rest areas,” said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves. “Safety rest areas play a vital role in preventing fatigue in drivers of all vehicles and also provide the accommodations necessary for motorists while on the road.”