Late night travelers on Route 2 have often seen tractor trailers parked illegally alongside highway shoulders and exit ramps.
Michael Riley, president of the Connecticut Motor Transport Association, said that every night 1,200 truckers are unable to find parking spaces in public or private truck rest stops.
While southwestern Connecticut will see large increases in truck parking on Interstate 95, travelers along Route 2 will see none since a proposal to add new rest areas never moved forward.
A 2005 Service Plaza study examined future demand for truck parking at the state’s rest stops.
For Route 2 between Colchester and Norwich, the projected 2015 demand is for 101 spaces at the eastbound and westbound directions.
Two proposed 4,600-square-foot rest area buildings with restrooms and a lobby would have been more than twice the size of the present-day I-91 Middletown rest area.
The rest areas were slated to have 48 truck spaces and 63 auto spaces eastbound and 73 truck spaces and 68 auto spaces westbound.
It was projected that the rest areas would each attract vehicle counts of about 224 each day.
The rest areas were proposed for Bozrah, near exit 22, but would have required acquisition of land.
Federal law prohibits states that receive federal highway funding from building new facilities with food and fuel services.
A recent exception to this rule was the I-295 rest area in Lincoln which houses a Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin Robbins.
It’s a different story for I-95 service plazas west of New Haven; the newly renovated Milford plazas have 42 more truck spaces, a 51% increase, for a total of 82. Ironically, the plazas already met future expected demand by 32 spaces before the expansion.
After renovations are completed at the Fairfield plazas, truckers will have 24 more spaces, a 35% increase, for a total of 67. The expansion still leaves the plazas short for future demand by 138 spaces.
At the Darien plazas, which are the closest to the New York border, there will be 54 more truck spaces after renovations are completed, a 59% increase, for a total of 91 spaces. Even after the addition, the plazas need 155 more spaces to meet future demand.
Nursick said truck parking areas were reconfigured using existing space at the plazas.
“Adding more (truck parking) than we are at the service plazas, or frankly, anywhere else in the state, means we would more than likely have to acquire property to do it via eminent domain, of course, not exactly popular. Financially, we’ve got more than enough on our plate with a backlog of billions of dollars worth of statewide transportation projects as it already stands. Money to add truck spaces would be another financial addition to our already substantial list of unfundable initiatives,” Nursick said.
Connecticut should do more to help get exceptions made so that private businesses could fund additional rest areas that would have more truck parking.