Signs have gone up on Interstate 84 in Willington, announcing the closing of the Connecticut Welcome Center westbound and the state rest area eastbound, effective July 1. The closings, along with the closings next fiscal year of five other rest stops, are part of the recently-passed two-year budget.

Department of Transportation spokesman Judd Everhart says closing the Willington stop will save $400,000 in the next year. After the Southington and Danbury stops on I-84, the Middletown and Wallingford stops on I-91 and the North Stonington stop on I-95 are closed next fiscal year, the state projects an annual savings of $1.3 million dollars, plus a savings of $14 million in capital costs.

President Mike Riley of the Motor Transport Association of Connecticut,  which represents the trucking industry,  says the closings could become a safety issue, “Where are we going to let our drivers rest?” Riley says studies have shown that drivers currently fill every available overnight parking spot in public and private areas on any given weeknight, and would use 1,200 more if they were available.

Everhart says, for now, entrances to the Willington rest stop will be blocked off, but the building will not be torn down and the state will not sell the property. He says if the state’s fiscal position were to turn around, the matter could be revisited,  but says there are no current plans for that.  He says the five DOT staff members who work at the Willington facilities have accepted positions that are currently vacant in other state agencies.

Comments (6)
  1. newenglandsnob says:

    It seems that there are darn few rest areas in this state compared to most. I guess it’s go pee in the woods and risk getting pinched, or maybe worse, contact dermatitis. Another in a long line of very bad Malloy decisioons. Keep voting democratic, ya numbskulls !

  2. Packingmybags4alowertaxstate says:

    Dane11e Ma11oy’s plan: close the rest stops, impose tolls to pay for a Rt 11 extension, then install pay toilets along all of the highways in CT, and perhaps impose higher taxes on food sold at the remaining rest stops. Force employers to pay for employees sick leaves, yielding diminished productivity. Then, raise taxes on the higher income entities; read ‘businesses’. Add a busline from New Britain to Hartford which is redundant with the current busline along much the same route, to payoff your union buddies in the construction trades. Spend money on a hospital that competes with independent hospitals so as to bolster a failing hospital and adversely impact the successful private hospitals, to payoff your buddies in construction. Who the He11even does Ma11oy think he is?… Obama? Advice to truckers who travel through CT: take a leak before you enter CT, and take I-95, which has rest & food stops, instead of Rt 84. Advice to businesses considering moving to CT: don’t. What will that accomplish? More congestion along I-95, and less jobs along all roads in CT.

  3. Martin Bennett says:

    Our govenor has no cmmon sense. A truck driver can not drive on local streets and rest in privately owed bussiness parking lots.I hope the first inocent person hurt by a fatigued driver is no one in his family…..

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