For Full Story: The Gainesville Sun

Article By: Cindy Swirko


Interstate 75 rest stops in Alachua and Columbia counties will soon get technology to enable truckers to know if big rig spots are available, an attempt to keep drivers from parking along the highway.

The Truck Parking Availability System, or TPAS, will provide real-time information and help drivers find safe options by using sensors to track how many parking spots are available, according to a Florida Department of Transportation new release.

Parking information will be relayed to dynamic message signs that will be installed ahead of the rest area, and allow truck drivers to make more informed decisions on their travel and planning their stops, the release states.

Work is expected to begin on the $3.7 million statewide project next week at the northbound and southbound rest stops north of Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park in Alachua County and the Ellisville rest stops south of Lake City in Columbia County.

The TPAS came about after studies revealed truck overflow parking was occurring at several rest areas, and some truck drivers resorted to unsafe and illegal methods of parking alongside the interstate or ramp shoulders.

TPAS will also be installed at rest areas, welcome centers and weigh stations elsewhere in I-75 in North Florida and on Interstates 10 and 95.

During construction, impacts to the traveling public and pedestrians are expected to be limited. No parking stall closures to trucks will be allowed between 4 p.m. and 9 a.m.