250 semi truck parking spots will be added between Tulsa and Oklahoma city during upcoming rest-stop renovations, officials say.
The Stroud service area on the Turner Turnpike, almost exactly halfway between Tulsa and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma will undergo some serious renovations in the next several years as part of an initiative to improve safety in the area.
“That service area, as it is now, is going away,” said Oklahoma Turnpike Authority spokesman Jack Damrill. Damrill explained that when the rest stop was built, the speed limit on the turnpike was only 55mph but that now, with the speed limit set at 75mph and the possibility for it to be set as high as 80 mph looming in the near future, the state needs to consider how to better serve the citizens traveling along the Turnpike.
“You have high-speed traffic merging with low speed traffic in the left lane[s],” Damrill continued. “When traffic from the service area merges onto the turnpike… That curve is dangerous.”
“The current service area has become congested with semi-tractor trailer parking, and its outdated design isn’t safe for motorists,” Damrill added according to Tulsa World News.
The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority plans to straighten the highway on the south end of the current rest stop and add a building for the McDonald’s and EZ-Go Convenience stores already found at the current location. That location will then only be accessible by westbound traffic heading to Oklahoma City.
However, another new service area for eastbound travelers heading towards Tulsa will be built along the Turner Turnpike just 4 miles east of the Chandler exit, and will also house a McDonald’s and EZ-Go convenience store. Each of these new rest stops will also boast 125 truck parking spots, adding a total of 250 truck parking spots along the stretch of turnpike, tripling the current amount of truck parking spots available in the area, which is only around 75.
Damrill says that he has experienced the current lack of sufficient semi truck parking first-hand when traveling through the area earlier this year.
“There were [semi] trucks parked on the entry ramp. They were parked on the exit ramp. It was a mess,” he said.
“We have to take safety into consideration,” he said. “Traffic for us is growing. Safety is always our No. 1 concern.”
The project was approved last year, and construction on the new service area has already begun, but the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority has yet to release a time-frame for completion of the project.
The project is estimated to cost a total of $16 million and will be funded by the toll roads.