AT THE GATEWAY OF TWO BUSTLING COUNTIES — At an estimated cost of $60 million, a parcel of 18.3 acres will be transformed into a parking lot with 132 spaces for semi tractor-trailers. Engineering and design of the parking site are underway, and right-of-way acquisition is set to begin during the state’s current fiscal year, FY 2024. Construction, however, may begin in Fiscal Year 2026.

As the Sunshine State’s population surges, and as the people’s needs and desires for things large and small also increase, the Florida Department of Transportation is staking out places for drivers to park their big rigs.

An acute shortage of truck parking is in the offing, as more trucks — critical links in the supply chain — are coming onto the roads to move merchandise from manufacturers, processors and receiving points to warehouses and then to retailers. It is a massive logistical network, and, except for die-hard survivalists determined to live off the land, each of us depends upon it.

ILLUSTRATIONS COURTESY FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION EAST SIDE, WEST SIDE — A tandem parking area in Volusia County is now in its design phase. With an estimated total cost of $81.8 million, the FDOT is planning to develop 73.3 acres along the eastbound Interstate 4, with 275 truck spaces, and another site of 120 acres on the westbound side of the superhighway, which will offer 253 spaces. The design of the parking sites on both sides of the superhighway is set to take place during the state’s current fiscal year, 2024. The current estimated total cost of the two truck-parking sites is $81.8 million. The acquisition of the right of way for the eastbound parking may begin in FIscal Year 2028, but right of way for the westbound rest site may not be acquired until Fiscal Years 2029 and 2030, according to the FDOT’s timetable. The state’s fiscal year begins July 1. The construction of the eastbound truck park may not begin until Fiscal Year 2029. The construction of the westbound facilities may begin in Fiscal Year 2031.

While the numbers of 18-wheelers have grown, the places for their drivers to pull off the roads and take much-needed rest have not grown. In fact, despite the need for trucks and the people who drive them, many cities and counties have laws forbidding the parking of the big trucks in neighborhoods and on some commercial parcels with commercial zoning.

To meet the needs of the big-rig drivers for a break in passing mileposts, the FDOT is planning to develop new truck-parking sites along Interstate 4. One of those sites is very close to Lake Monroe and the Seminole-Volusia county line, and the other is inside Volusia County, approximately midway between DeLand and Daytona Beach.

When finished, the new truck parking sites will offer restrooms, vending machines, sufficient lighting and round-the-clock security.


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