While all of Virginia’s 13 highway weigh stations – officially known as motor carrier service centers – are temporarily closed until at least April 23, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is turning 10 of them into temporary rest areas to accommodate increased truck traffic that’s delivering food and essential supplies during the COVID-19 outbreak.
[Above photo by the Virginia DOT.]
“The trucking industry is a vital link in our country’s supply chain,” explained Shannon Valentine, Virginia’s secretary of transportation, in a statement. “During these unprecedented times, we are especially grateful to these men and women serving on the front lines, and we are proud to help in any way we can.”
The DMV is offering the use of 246 truck parking spaces at 10 weigh stations across the state as rest parking for commercial drivers. The spaces are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, until at least April 23. To make truckers aware of the service, the Virginia Department of Transportation is partnering with DMV to place Portable Changeable Message Signs advertising the availability of truck parking.
Other states are also working to enhance their rest area services to meet the needs of truckers and motorists engaged in COVID-19-related travel.
For example, the Idaho Transportation Department is increasing rest area cleaning frequently to minimize the spread of COVID-19 as truck traffic across state continues to increase.
“Rest areas provide an essential service as a respite for truckers,” noted Nestor Fernandez, ITD’s mobility services engineer, in a statement. “While we’re seeing fewer passenger vehicles on the highway, freight services are in full tilt. We have heard from our partners in the trucking industry that they need these areas open, and we are working to meet that need.”
Meanwhile, the Indiana Department of Transportation is launching a temporary program that allows licensed food trucks to operate at its highway rest areas to provide food and beverage options for truck drivers and motorists alike – a move made in accordance with recent guidance offered by the Federal Highway Administration.