long-island-expressway-welcome-center-renderingThe $20.2 million NY welcome center on the Long Island Expressway in New York between exits 51 and 52 is set to open as early as this week, state officials said, providing a stop for motorists—but not for drivers with CDL trucking jobs.

Residents remain upset at the thought of having trucks near the center, Transport Topics wrote.

Residents opposed expanding what had been a pullout area with no services. They shared concerns of pollution from idling trucks and quality-of-life issues, such as noise and crime. However, as a compromise with residents and local officials, New York Department of Transportation officials banned tractor-trailers and buses at the welcome center. This exchanged for the community agreeing not to sue or impede sewer and water district approvals for the project.

Alternate rest areas for trucks and buses exist farther east.

One on the westbound side of Exit 56 and another eastbound between exits 65 and 66. Those stops have been renovated with improved lighting and portable restroom facilities, DOT officials said.

On a recent afternoon at the Exit 56 rest area, longhaul truck drivers said they had mixed feelings about the new setup, which requires them to turn around from the eastbound side to get to the rest stop on the westbound side or drive another 20 minutes east — longer in traffic.

Bruce Maze of Lewisburg, PA avoided driving to Long Island during his 36-year career.

His reasoning is it’s not very accommodating for truckers. He said the new stops show improvement, but give and take from residents must exist to make it work. “I understand residents’ concerns,” Maze said. “But at the same time, businesses need supplies, and truckers need and want a safe, well-lit area to pull over.”

Rick Caetano, who has been driving for more than 20 years, called the need to turn back west to use the rest area a “hassle” and said he would prefer to be able to use the new welcome center.

Caetano also shared his opinion on how the lack of truck parking impacts the new welcome center.

It’s not always easy when you have a CDL trucking job. Join the Drive My Way community here to keep up with all the latest industry news and make your voice heard.

Welcome center rendering by New York Governor’s Press Office.


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