JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Department of Transportation continues to improve safety measures for commercial motor vehicle drivers. While states across the country close their rest areas and parking facilities, MoDOT keeps adding to the state's inventory.
Between 2002 and 2009, the number of truck parking spaces provided by MoDOT increased from 587 to 853, a 45 percent jump in nine years. Two welcome centers and more converted truck parking areas will create an additional 142 spaces for 2010. This parking space increase is vital for truck drivers who under federal law must leave the road and rest once a 10 to 11 hour workday is recorded. Drivers need truck parking or a rest area when they reach their limit, and these places aren't hard to find in Missouri.
"MoDOT understands that for professional drivers to perform at their best, good rest is important," says Pete Rahn, director of MoDOT. "Truck drivers work long days and deserve places along our roadways to park, relax and feel safe."
Special attention is given to truck and recreational vehicle parking when MoDOT builds or reconstructs interstate rest areas. For example, upgrades at Joplin (Interstate 44), Conway (I-44) and Eagleville (I-35) and plans for welcome centers in Marston (I-55) and Hayti (I-55) will add hundreds of additional parking spots.
When possible, MoDOT converts roadside facilities that are decommissioned into truck parking facilities. Many are located on former weigh station sites. The first of these, near Odessa, Mo., on I-70, opened for truck parking in 2005. This location along with the other park-only sites near Kearney, Platte City, Charleston, plus the former rest areas near Joplin, Coffey and Doolittle provide a parking area with lights.
"Motor carriers really appreciate how easy it is to find a place to rest," said Jan Skouby, MoDOT motor carrier services director. "That makes Missouri truck-friendly and helps keep shipping costs down, so we pay less at the store."