Drivers traveling through Arkansas now have another option when it comes to truck parking.
Tabbed the I-40 Truck Parking Expansion Project, the venture sought to repurpose a former welcome center into a lot for truck parking. Phase 1 of the construction, which carried a $6 million price tag, is now complete.
According to officials, an additional 84 parking spaces are available at the new site to “help alleviate the truck parking shortage across the country.” The new site is on I-40 Westbound, just west of mile marker 275.
Lorie Tudor, director of ArDOT, said the ribbon-cutting at the newly remodeled truck parking facility was a significant moment for the state.
“It symbolizes safer travel on our Interstates, so that more truckers can find a safe place to park and get the rest they need,” Tudor said. “It also shows our support of an industry that is vital to our economy and to delivering the goods we all want and need, but sometimes take for granted how they get to us.”
According to Shannon Newton, president of the Arkansas Trucking Association, 87% of Arkansas communities rely solely on trucks to deliver essential goods.
“The trucking industry is the lifeblood of commerce – connecting business, communities and consumers across the country and across the state,” Newton said during the ceremony. “These spaces will provide a safe and convenient resting place for more than 20,000 dedicated truck drivers who pass through West Memphis each and every day.”
While the facility is now open, there is still work to be done. Tudor says that Phase 2 of the expansion project – which carries a budget of $1 million – will include adding restrooms and an Arkansas State Police substation at the site. Bidding on that project is expected to begin in June.
The roughly $7.1 million in funding for the project comes via grants from the Arkansas Commercial Truck Safety and Education Program.
Founded in 2013, the program’s goal is to “advance state interests in roadway safety by proposing to improve the safety of the commercial truck industry through cooperative public-private programs that focus on increased enforcement, regulatory compliance, industry training, and educational programs to ensure the safe movement of goods on Arkansas highways.”
To help fund the program, stakeholders from the trucking industry agreed to a 15% increase in registration fees for certain trucks operating in Arkansas under the International Registration Plan. The first $2 million of those annual funds collected goes to support projects that benefit the trucking industry. LL