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VDOT reopens four I-81 rest areas

Eight months after they were shut down to save the state money, Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) reopened four Interstate 81 rest areas Wednesday, including one in Radford.
In June, the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) recommended closing 19 of the state’s rest areas and welcome centers as part of an effort to overcome a $4.6 billion shortfall in state transportation revenue.
However, last month the CTB reversed its earlier decision in response to new Gov. Bob McDonnell’s call for the facilities to be reopened.
In addition to the northbound I-81 rest area at Radford, other I-81 rest areas opened Wednesday included one northbound at Rural Retreat and two southbound at New Market and Smyth County.
When the decision was made to close rest areas and welcome centers statewide, the CTB estimated the move would save VDOT $9 million.
In preparation for the I-81 rest area re-openings, VDOT crews had to restore utilities, restock traveler information centers, clean the facilities and re-install vending machines.
VDOT will use $3 million from its emergency maintenance reserve fund to operate facilities through the remainder of the fiscal year, which ends June 30. Long-term funding for the rest areas will be identified as VDOT revises its maintenance budget this spring.
Eight more rest areas are slated to re-open by March 17. The remaining seven are expected to be open by April 15.
For the complete schedule of rest area openings and a map of the affected facilities, visit www.ctb.virginia.gov/resources/2010/jan/2010_SecretaryBriefing-rest_areas_Reopening-1-19-10.pdf

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VDOT reopens four I-81 rest areas

Eight months after they were shut down to save the state money, Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) reopened four Interstate 81 rest areas Wednesday, including one in Radford.
In June, the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) recommended closing 19 of the state’s rest areas and welcome centers as part of an effort to overcome a $4.6 billion shortfall in state transportation revenue.
However, last month the CTB reversed its earlier decision in response to new Gov. Bob McDonnell’s call for the facilities to be reopened.
In addition to the northbound I-81 rest area at Radford, other I-81 rest areas opened Wednesday included one northbound at Rural Retreat and two southbound at New Market and Smyth County.
When the decision was made to close rest areas and welcome centers statewide, the CTB estimated the move would save VDOT $9 million.
In preparation for the I-81 rest area re-openings, VDOT crews had to restore utilities, restock traveler information centers, clean the facilities and re-install vending machines.
VDOT will use $3 million from its emergency maintenance reserve fund to operate facilities through the remainder of the fiscal year, which ends June 30. Long-term funding for the rest areas will be identified as VDOT revises its maintenance budget this spring.
Eight more rest areas are slated to re-open by March 17. The remaining seven are expected to be open by April 15.
For the complete schedule of rest area openings and a map of the affected facilities, visit www.ctb.virginia.gov/resources/2010/jan/2010_SecretaryBriefing-rest_areas_Reopening-1-19-10.pdf

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