Mankato needs more rest stops for truck drivers, MnDOT finds

Mankato needs more rest stops for truck drivers, MnDOT finds

MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - He’s temporarily driving farm trucks, but Mark Larson knows what it’s like to work as a commercial driver.

“You know, you can work 14 hours a day and 11 of that you can drive. I did cross country driving from Upstate New York over to Colorado, three Canadian provinces and most of the states in between," he said.

Larson said commercial drivers have to take half hour breaks every eight hours.

That means finding a rest stop.

But the biggest problem is that a lot of times they’re full and so you just got to keep going until you can find one that isn’t full, and often times you can’t, so then that’s where you end up having to stay in a mall parking lot.
Mark Larson

A statewide study being completed by the Minnesota Department of Transportation finds in part that Mankato needs more rest stops for truck drivers.

The study began last November and is expected to be finalized in September.

“Using 169 as a great example, its connection down to I–90 is a key regional freight corridor for trucking, at least in terms of needing truck parking and demand. The Mankato area has been expanding in its commercial sector and, sort of, its industrial needs," said Andrew Andrusko, the state freight planner.

Andrusko said 95% of household goods come by truck and that truck traffic is expected to increase by about ten percent over the next ten years.

According to MnDOT, truck parking shortages are a safety concern, something Andrusko said is a national issue.

Two concerns to not having enough rest stops include having tired drivers continue to drive and having drivers choose an unsafe location to rest.

MnDOT is participating in the National Coalition on Truck Parking, something that the United States Department of Transportation is leading with partners in the truck stop industry.

Andrusko said the effort to figure out how people can get from point A to point B safely spun out of what is known as the Federal Jason’s Law.

Jason’s Law is named after Jason Rivenburg.

According to Andrusko, Rivenburg did not have a place to park and was attacked and murdered where he chose to stay.

The incident happened in 2009.

Solutions include adding additional parking areas to the city, Andrusko said.

He added that one of the next steps once the study is completed will be to see if there are ways to identify funding for truck parking.

MnDOT also developed a Truck Parking Information Management System, which provides truck drivers with real time information about parking availability in Minnesota.

Larson echoed Andrusko and said getting rest is important for road safety.

“And in our case it’s probably more important, because, you know, we’re hauling anywhere from 60–80 thousand pounds, and you know, it’s a lot of weight, so, you know, you could obviously hurt some people," he said.

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