Motorists traveling on W.Va. 817 near St. Albans likely have noticed a relatively new truck parking area built along the east side of the road.
The lot has six long truck parking spaces, and is large enough for additional trucks. Directional signs on W.Va. 817 inform truckers of the lot, which is accessible via Industrial Road.
Work was completed on the $385,000 project in May. Of that amount, $300,000 was paid by a federal grant from the Truck Parking Facilities Discretionary Program.
The grant was awarded in 2012, and the W.Va. 817 parking project was one of six recipients selected nationwide out of 23 submitted applications. The grant description mentioned a "severe shortage of truck parking spaces in the Charleston area."
"There was just a need," state Department of Transportation spokeswoman Carrie Bly said.
Bly said truck traffic on W.Va. 817 is still high, in part due to the John Amos Power Plant in Putnam County. In addition, the route is used as an interstate detour, a situation that occurred in June when a multi-vehicle pileup blocked the I-64 bridge over the Kanawha River.
The same federal grant program provided $500,000 in 2011 to help construct 28 truck parking spaces along Interstate 81 in Berkeley County.
For truckers, the additional parking is likely needed.
There are no interstate rest areas in Kanawha County, except for two travel plazas along the West Virginia Turnpike. There are a few private locations with lots large enough for trucks to park, notably at Go Marts near interstate routes.
Outside of the county, a Pilot truck stop is located in Nitro, a Travel Centers of America stop is in Hurricane and a Love's truck stop is in Ripley