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Rest Area and Welcome Center Plan

Source: INDOT

STATEWIDE–The Indiana Department of Transportation has announced a 10-year plan to improve both interstate rest areas and welcome centers across Indiana.

The plan involves an investment of more than $600 million to upgrade 21 rest areas and welcome centers by the end of 2030.

“I think it sounds good, but I want to see the end result,” said Matt Vermillion, a retired truck driver. He had been a truck driver for 17 of the last 18 years. He said it didn’t used to be difficult to find overnight parking. In recent years, he says it’s been almost impossible to find parking at places where it used to be easy.

Vermillion says rest area semi truck parking was designed for 48 foot trailers. Most of the trailers that semis pull now are 53 feet long.

“That five feet of change can affect a lot of key things like the turning radius for semi. There are still a bunch of rest areas not just in Indiana, but elsewhere too, that are just a little too small,” said Vermillion.

Vermillion gives INDOT credit for already making some improvements.

“But the problem is they’ve shut down rest areas that have not opened and won’t open again,” said Vermillion.

INDOT is reassuring the public, though, that the progress will be steady and consistent.

“When completed, INDOT’s improvement plan is projected to add more than 1,100 additional semitrailer parking spaces to facilities statewide,” said Kyleigh Cramer, public relations director of INDOT’s East Central district.

INDOT says that not only will their plan benefit semi truck drivers, it will also benefit cars, buses, and recreational vehicles.

“Each rest area facility includes various buildings, restroom facilities, water fountains, picnic areas, vending services, numerous other site amenities, driving information, and a variety of tourism-and-traveler-related services,” said a release from INDOT.

Vermillion says he wants the state to benefit from tourism, but he also doesn’t want his fellow truck drivers to be forgotten.

“I’m not a driver now, but I’m still concerned about this because this is something that semi drivers have been screaming about for decades,” said Vermillion.