A group met last Thursday to discuss how to address the lack of parking spaces for semis along Iowa’s interstates. Steven McMenamin is the Iowa DOT’s rest area administrator.
Federal rules require a 10-hour rest period after a driving shift of no more than 14 hours. According to the national trade association for professional truck drivers, there’s just one parking spot for every 11 semis on the road today. Some of Iowa’s full-service rest areas are at least 50 years old. There are another 12 interstate rest areas in Iowa that do not offer amenities like rest rooms and just have parking spaces.
McMenamin says the Iowa DOT has no plans to close any interstate rest area in Iowa or to open any new ones either.
The Iowa DOT is ordering a temporary, winter-time closure for an interstate rest area in southern Iowa that only offers parking spaces. It’s on southbound I-35 in Warren County, near the St. Charles exit. McMenamin says it’s a safety issue for truckers.
That particular parking-only rest area has been closed during the winter for the past few years. It will officially be closed November 13th and is expected to reopen next spring.