The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) today announced that it has accelerated its planned reopening of the existing truck rest area along I-95 North, located between Exits 2 and 3. The rest area opened today, September 2 by 8 a.m.
RIDOT’s maintenance forces have swept and restriped the parking lots, repaired guardrail, installed new signage, activated and made repairs to the overhead lighting system, and cleared excessive weeds and brush from the grounds. RIDOT originally anticipated reopening the facility by mid-September, but was able to complete the work in just over a week’s time. RIDOT will continue working on the facility with the goal of reopening interior spaces, including indoor restrooms, by the end of the month. RIDOT will have portable restrooms available in time for tomorrow’s opening.
The rest area will provide additional safe parking for truck drivers, who must comply with federal regulations that limit the number of hours they can drive and establish minimum rest periods between shifts.
Reopening of the existing truck rest area was always envisioned when RIDOT sought federal TIGER grant funding for the new Rhode Island Travel Plaza and Transit Hub. With the awarding of $9 million in funding for the new Welcome Center, RIDOT is moving forward with that project.
The existing truck rest area closed in 2011, at roughly the same time new Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Hours of Service Regulations were being developed. These regulations not only limit the number of hours spent driving, but also mandate minimum rest periods between shifts.
Federal restrictions apply to the existing truck rest area, which prohibit certain travel amenities from being provided – services travelers expect and deserve at a modern travel plaza.
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