Pennsylvania yields to truckers’ plea; reopens some rest stops for parking

Rest area sign
Rest area sign

HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) has reopened select rest areas across Pennsylvania for truck parking. PennDOT rest areas were closed at midnight Tuesday, March 17, in response to Gov. Tom Wolf’s mitigation guidance regarding COVID-19.

After several states across the nation announced the closing of rest areas earlier in the week, numerous industry organizations, including American Trucking Associations (ATA) and Owner-Operators Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), reached out to federal, local and state governments, asking that services be restored for truck drivers.

PennDOT responded by providing limited services at 13 of the state’s 30 rest areas, each in a “critical location,” for truck parking effective Thursday, March 19.

“Every decision made has been in the interest of mitigating the spread of COVID-19 and we are constantly reevaluating our response,” said Yassmin Gramian, P.E., acting secretary for PennDOT. “That said, we also recognize the importance of freight movement and that drivers need access to rest areas.”

Each location will have five portable toilets (one of which is ADA-accessible) that will be cleaned once a day. Electronic message signs will be used near the applicable centers to notify drivers near the opened areas. To prevent further spread of COVID-19, PennDOT does not plan to open any of the indoor facilities due to lack of staff availability to keep facilities clean and properly sanitized.

The following locations have been reopened for truck parking:

• Interstate 79: Crawford County (northbound and southbound);

• Interstate 79: Allegheny (northbound only);

• Interstate 80: Venango County (eastbound and westbound);

• Interstate 80: Centre County (eastbound and westbound);

• Interstate 80: Montour County (eastbound and westbound);

• Interstate 81: Luzerne County (northbound and southbound); and

• Interstate 81: Cumberland County (northbound and southbound).

PennDOT will continue to evaluate and will determine whether additional rest areas can be reopened.

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