Two rest stops on Interstate 35 near Clear Lake, IA, that were closed last summer despite protests from a trucking group may be reopened as truck parking areas.
The rest stops were closed last June as part of an agreement with the owners of the “Top of Iowa” welcome center near the Iowa-Minnesota border, reports the Associated Press.
A bill now under consideration in the Iowa Senate states that the Iowa Department of Transportation “shall maintain the parking area for use by trucks” at the rest areas. However, the restrooms would not be reopened.
Velere Stromer, a trucker from Klemme, IA, organized a petition drive to get the DOT to change its mind. He collected about 2,500 signatures. “We can't get enough rest areas,” Stromer said. “This was an injustice.”
Department spokesman Steve McMenamin said the DOT continues to oppose the move to reopen the two rest stops. Many fixtures have already been removed from the buildings for use in other rest areas around the state.
McMenamin said it cost the state $165,000 a year to maintain the two rest stops, but he didn't know how much it would cost to maintain the rest stops without the restrooms.