A public agency is considering sites along 15 miles of Interstate 40, east of Forest City, Ark., to build a truckstop that can park 1,000 trucks.
“It’s going to be the nation’s largest truckstop,” said Bobby May, a consultant for the St. Francis County Transportation Commission. “We want it to be a destination, a Disney World for truckers.”
State and federal agencies have allocated $400,000 for the St. Francis County Transportation Mall, which is expected to cost $18 million to $20 million.
“It would have all the modern facilities a trucker could ever want,” May said.
A sheriff’s substation, with someone on duty 24-hours per day, would be located on the site, as well as a private security force. Truck parking would be segregated by truck type, such as putting reefers in one area so that the motors kicking on would not disturb other truckers.
“Top-notch” rest rooms would be available, May said, and amenities such as laundry facilities and shore power hook-ups would be provided. A shuttle service would take truckers from the parking area to a strip mall located on the site.
Of the funding obtained so far, $120,000 has gone to Arkansas State University for a feasibility study. Other funding has paid consulting, engineering and administration fees. The Delta Regional Authority recently granted the commission $100,000 for the project.
The commission hopes to know this spring if other funding sources, including the U.S.
Department of Transportation, will approve grant requests. It estimates groundbreaking on the 200-acre project will happen 18 to 24 months after full funding is obtained.
Commission members visualize a private-public venture. The commission would provide the infrastructure and sign a long-term lease with a private entity that would construct and maintain the buildings.