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PennDOT reopening some of the state's rest areas

The closures on Wednesday left many truckers scrambling.

NEW MILFORD, Pa. — While many Pennsylvanians are working from home, tractor-trailer drivers are on the road. 

One problem for drivers on Wednesday was that all of the rest areas across the commonwealth were closed because of the coronavirus.

However, that is going to change. PennDOT plans on reopening 13 of the state’s 30 rest areas on Thursday.

The closures on Wednesday left truckers scrambling for a place to sleep and use the bathroom. The parking lot at the Flying J near New Milford was packed.

It's been more challenging than before just because the rest areas are closed. These are the only places that we can actually park,” Juan Sepulveda said.

You can't get in a rest stop like there's no bathrooms available, so what do you do? What is there? Truck stops. Thank God there’s a lot of them,” William Baldwin said.

Starting on Thursday, PennDot will reopen 13 of the state’s 30 rest areas. That includes this list:

  • Interstate 81: Luzerne County NB/SB
  • Interstate 80: Montour County EB/WB
  • Interstate 79: Crawford County NB/SB
  • Interstate 79: Allegheny NB only
  • Interstate 80: Venango County EB/WB
  • Interstate 80: Centre County EB/WB
  • Interstate 81: Cumberland County NB/SB

The indoor facilities will still be closed but there will be porta-potties outside that are cleaned daily. One of those porta potties will be handicap accessible. Drivers are also allowed to park there overnight.

I wish it was today! I mean I didn't know they were going to open tomorrow but I mean that's good news, we need those,” Sepulveda said.

PennDOT officials said there will also be signs outside rest areas indicating if they are open.

The department will continue to evaluate and if more rest stops should also reopen.

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