The Iowa Department of Transportation says it has selected a site midway between Elhart and Highway 210 to build a new rest area on Interstate-35. The current reststops see some 600,000 visitors a year, but will go away when a new interchange is built into the city of Ankeny.
D.O.T. district engineer, Scott Dockstader, says they examined a lot of things when deciding where to build the new rest areas. He says they did an extensive public outreach to get comments from people, and had a couple of public meetings and looked at some different sites before choosing this one.
Dockstader says the D.O.T. look at reconfiguring the current sites, as well as not replacing the current stops. Dockstader says there were a lot of comments on both sides, but a lot people said they loved the rest stops and they needed to be replaced. He says they want to get started on building the new rest stops when the construction begins on the interchange in July of next year.
Dockstader says it will cost about 14-million dollars to build the rest areas on both sides of the interstate, and they hope to have them open by the time the close down the old reststops in late 2012. Many of the other state rest areas have been upgraded and now include themes. Dockstader says that’s something that’s in the plans for the new stops.
Dockstader says they have a consultant hired to develop that theme and that will be part of the process as they go through checking out the archeology of the site and move ahead with the design plans. Dockstader says approximately 40,000 vehicles use that section of Interstate-35 each day.