FDOT considering new Charlotte County rest stops

PUNTA GORDA, Fla. The Florida Department of Transportation is working to build new rest stops on Interstate 75.

The rest stosp, which are expected to cost $36 million, will be built on the northbound and southbound roadways near Airport Road.

“There ain’t too many (rest areas),” truck driver Robert Naylor said. “It’s been a good ways since there’s been a rest area.”

The state removed the rest stop from Jones Loop Road in 2015 due to lack of traffic, since reaching the stop involved exiting the highway.

However, because of the rest stop’s closure, there’s approximately a 100-mile gap between rest stops from Lee County to Hillsborough County, a distance many drivers say is too long to go with nowhere to pull over.

“There’s so many truckers for this area that need a place to go,” said motorist Mark Massey, who frequently drives on Interstate 75. “Most of them end up going to gas stations just to get a break, you know. So if they have a place to pull over, they’ll use it.”

FDOT is holding a public meeting about the proposed rest stops next Tuesday at the Charlotte Harbor Event and Conference Center at 75 Taylor St. The meeting is from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.