It has come to my attention that a driving force behind Virginia’s goal to close the rest areas could actually have something to do with the plans of building a railroad transportation yard on U.S. Route 11 in Elliston, VA. It is my understanding that Adams Construction, out of Blue Ridge, VA had been holding public meetings concerning this, but when the public said “NO”, then the talk of closing the rest areas began. We have not spoken with Adams Construction to confirm this.
In order to build the railroad transportation yard, they would have to widen U.S. 11 in the Elliston, VA area for the asphalt plant, as well as widen I-81 at Iranto, VA in order to accommodate the transportation facility. The land along the interstate does not fall under farm land zoning codes, thus the Federal Government could step in for commercialization of the land.
However, concerning the rest area closings, they did begin with mile marker 129 which lies within Iranto, VA. The proposed land site is maintained by the city of Salem, VA which is leased from Roenoke County, VA. Going on up from U.S. Route 11 to Route 117 is known as Peters Creek Road, which is in Roenoke County. This is where the first public meeting for public input about the rest area closings were held, according to my understanding. Thus, falling right in line with the information I have received relating to the proposed railroad transportation yard wanting to be built, and very well could be the real reason for closing these rest areas along I-81 in Virginia.
© 2009, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.