Rest areas in Mineola, Mo., are being converted to a truck-only parking facility, and two welcome centers have opened along I-55 offering additional parking.

The first phase of the Mineola Rest Area conversion to truck parking began Tuesday. Both rest areas at Mile Marker 168 on Interstate 70 will close to all vehicles for up to three days.

During this closure, the buildings will be shuttered to prepare for their demolition, signing will be placed along I-70 to inform motorists that the areas are for trucks only, and porta-potties will be installed. Demolition of the buildings and picnic shelters will occur in late June or early July. Once the demolition is complete, the porta-potties will be removed and vault toilets installed.

The final phase of the conversion this fall will be the expansion of the existing parking for additional trucks. The conversion should be complete by Dec. 1.

As long as the area is safe and visitors respect construction boundaries, MoDOT will allow truck parking during the conversion process. Expect occasional overnight closures between now and December.

Additionally, the Interstate 55 welcome centers near Hayti and Marston are now open. Both sites feature dozens of truck parking spaces, restrooms, picnic areas, playgrounds and benches. There are even walking trails to give drivers a chance to stretch their legs and explore the area.

Each site showcases local flavor. The Marston Welcome Center features both New Madrid Earthquake and Mississippian culture themes. The Hayti location features a wetlands theme.