September 28, 2012 – MONTPELIER – Gov. Peter Shumlin and Michael Obuchowski, Commissioner of Buildings and General Services, announced today that the Hartford South Welcome Center on Interstate 91 would open to the public on Monday, Oct. 1. Built with a Congressional earmark, this long anticipated welcome center is being readied for the general public and will serve travelers heading south on Interstate 91.
The new 4,975 square foot facility replaces a 48 year old structure that was built in 1964 when this section of the interstate was completed. The $4.1 million project has been under construction for 18 months and is expected to host over 300,000 visitors in its first year of service.
“This new generation of rest areas provide clean, safe, and well-maintained stops for the traveling public,” Gov. Shumlin said. “While driver safety is our number one concern, we also recognize that these facilities also promote the tourism economy that is so important to many of our communities.”
“These facilities are critical to safety on our highways,” said Brian Searles, Secretary of the Agency of Transportation. “Drivers of passenger vehicles and truck drivers all need safe places to pull over to rest while travelling our interstate network. Rest areas are particularly important as a safe haven during inclement weather.”
The Hartford facility, considered a gateway to Vermont, will serve traffic from the North on I-91 and traffic accessing I-91 from the North and South of I-89. The facility will be open 365 days a year from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. It will host exhibits, arts and crafts, promote Vermont attractions, Vermont products, cultural attractions, and areas of interest throughout the State. This site will feature free WIFI and coffee; will offer picnic areas and a dog walking park and stocked with complimentary brochures and publications that showcase the State.
The Hartford Welcome Center is part of the network of 15 state-sanctioned visitor centers projected to host over 4 million visitors this year.