RICHMOND, VA - Virginia has launched a new pilot program to use undeveloped state Department of Transportation properties as truck safety rest areas. 

The first site, along Interstate 66 in Warren County, began to provide additional parking for truckers on Nov. 8 so they could get their required rest hours when traveling along the interstate. The pilot location, an unused paved lot along the eastbound lanes, was purchased decades ago for future rest area development. It was temporarily opened as a truck-only rest area.  

"Truckers are the lifeline of our economy, carrying food, manufactured products, clothes, and everything imaginable and necessary for our daily lives," said Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell. "To ensure they drive safely, truckers need secure places to park and rest.  Anyone who has passed our full-service rest areas at night or the early morning can see that many are filled to capacity with trucks. This pilot project will look to use undeveloped properties at minimal cost to the commonwealth." 

The pilot period will last 90 days, followed by a 60-day evaluation period. The truck rest area will continue operations during the 60-day evaluation period. 

This I-66 rest area location is near mile marker four and has a paved lot. The rest area opened on Nov. 8 for use 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Electronic message boards placed in the area notify the public about the location. 

The Warren County Board of Supervisors approached the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) with concerns about overnight truck parking. This plan should reduce trucks parking at interchanges and at local businesses while drivers get their required hours of rest. VDOT anticipates the new rest area will also provide trucks with a place to get off the roads during inclement weather. 

The Warren County sheriff's office and Virginia State Police have agreed to monitor the I-66 truck rest area. 

A similar rest area was already in use on I-64 in Alleghany County. Pending the results of this pilot, additional truck parking facilities will be considered on or near other interstates.