The Virginia Department of Transportation has put the brakes on a plan to create a “truck rest area” off of I-66 in Markham after locals packed a meeting to complain.
VDOT Suspends Plan To Add Truck Parking On I-66 Corridor
In spite of the fact that the 2015 Virginia Truck Parking Study identified the need for 500 parking spots along the I-66 corridor, VDOT says that they have suspended the Markham rest stop project in order to explore other options.
The Markham rest area project would have provided 22 truck parking spots along with 27 light poles, a dumpster, three or four portable toilets, and a privacy fence. The project would have cost about $800,000 and would have been built on state-owned land.
Residents Oppose Truck Rest Stop For A Variety Of Reasons
VDOT held a meeting in late August to get public feedback on the truck rest area and the responses were overwhelmingly opposed to the idea.
Fairfax resident Thomas D. Peterson spearheaded a campaign against the rest stop, claiming that the project would be a threat to the “beautiful and scenic” area. He also cited “research” that claimed that truckers were not properly utilizing parking at Opal Truck Stop on Route 29 as well as other parking opportunities near Strasburg.
VDOT To Explore Alternatives To Markham Rest Area
Peterson encouraged VDOT to create a real time system to alert truck drivers to unused parking spaces.
Other residents have complained about the possible noise and fumes from trucks. Some were worried about the impact that the truck rest area could have on wildlife and the local environment.
VDOT says that the Markham project is shelved for now but that they may return to it if conditions do not improve.
Interestingly, VDOT completed site work for a full service rest area in Markham — complete with turn lanes, an entrance, exit and parking lot — in the late 1970’s and then abandoned the project. No VDOT official can explain why the project was abandoned.