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Pennsylvania shuts its rest stops to all activity, including parking

Pennsylvania has closed all 35 of its highway rest stops to all activity following the declaration of a state of emergency. 

A spokeswoman for the state’s Department of Transportation said the closure impacts not only the limited facilities at the rest stops, like bathrooms and vending machines. It also shuts down parking access as well.

“We are reevaluating,” spokeswoman Alexis Campbell told FreightWaves in a text message. “However, we must also consider the ability of our contract cleaners to provide staffing adequate to maintain clean, safe and sanitary facilities while limiting the exposure risk to staff and public.”

The rest stops in Pennsylvania have limited facilities but also have one highly attractive feature – they are free and legal to park. As a truck driver noted in a Facebook truckers group, the alternative will now be the shoulders of the highway. (Though truckers pulling goods that exempt them from the current Hours of Service rule may be able to spend some more time searching for better parking than a shoulder.)

The closures took pace at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, March 17. The state, in its announcement, noted that there already had been closures in place in Montgomery, Delaware, Bucks and Chester counties, all of them in the Philadelphia suburbs.

Meanwhile, in neighboring Ohio, where there also is a state of emergency in place, a spokeswoman for that state’s DOT said there are no restrictions in place at its rest stops.


  1. Rich Porardo

    Governor Tom Wolf has completely fcckd this whole thing up. They closed Wine and Spirit Shoppes, where you normally see maybe 6 employees and another half a dozen customers. Now, you have to go to a grocery store to get wine and beer, where there may be 50-100 employes, and another couple hundred customers. Wolf is a m0r0n.

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John Kingston

John has an almost 40-year career covering commodities, most of the time at S&P Global Platts. He created the Dated Brent benchmark, now the world’s most important crude oil marker. He was Director of Oil, Director of News, the editor in chief of Platts Oilgram News and the “talking head” for Platts on numerous media outlets, including CNBC, Fox Business and Canada’s BNN. He covered metals before joining Platts and then spent a year running Platts’ metals business as well. He was awarded the International Association of Energy Economics Award for Excellence in Written Journalism in 2015. In 2010, he won two Corporate Achievement Awards from McGraw-Hill, an extremely rare accomplishment, one for steering coverage of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster and the other for the launch of a public affairs television show, Platts Energy Week.