North Carolina Department of Transportation officials say that the lack of adequate truck parking is a growing issue that’s making some truckers think twice before heading to the state.
The study on big rig parking was funded by North Carolina state legislators and was presented to the N.C. Department of Transportation on Wednesday, September 6th.
According to The News & Observer, the truck parking study was started after legislators recognized that the State Highway Patrol was having issues with truckers parking their rigs along highway ramps to take their mandated breaks.
In an interview with a local newspaper, truckers complained about the lack of safe parking throughout the state, particularly along I-77. They claimed that a shortage of parking spots paired with upcoming and pre-existing federal regulations, often force truck drivers to park on interstate ramps illegally.
The study looked into these trucker’s claims by observing North Carolina’s highways and truck stops.
Once completed, the study discovered that 167 truck stop locations had a combined total of 4,783 parking spots. Of these 167 locations, only 15% were public rest areas, the remaining 85% were private truck stops, according to the study published on the NCDOT website.
This means that in North Carolina, there are only about 25 public rest areas and about 142 privatized truck stops with less than 5,000 parking spots total, with the worst parking along I-77 and I-40.
Out of 36 truck stops surveyed by the NCDOT, 21 claimed to be “full most nights.”
“There’s no place for the truckers to get rest,” said N.C. Department of Transportation director Charles Edwards.
“We’re going to not be OK in the next few years,” continued Edwards.
“Some truckers are [already] reluctant to come into North Carolina because there’s no place for the truckers to get rest.”
Edwards says state officials are trying to figure out how to add more truck parking by expanding and renovating rest areas.
The parking shortage, however, is likely to get worse before it gets better due to additions to the Wilmington port, as well as a brand new CCX rail terminal in Edgecomb County, that are expected to increase the amount of big rigs on the state’s roadways.