Next Recession Victim: Highway Rest Stops

Drivers left crossing their legs as states close pit stops to save cash
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 3, 2009 7:00 AM CDT
Historians have extensively chronicled highways like Route 66, but few works on the humble rest stops exist.   (Flickr)
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(Newser) – The pit stops along American highways are starting to go the way of the Pony Express as states slash their budgets, the Wall Street Journal reports. Some states argue that the mushrooming of gas stations and motels at interstate exits make the rest stops obsolete, but American Automobile Association officials warn the trend means drivers will need "a strong rear end and a strong bladder" to hit the highways.

About 2,500 state-funded rest areas remain along the nation's interstate highway system, but the number is shrinking fast. Louisiana has closed 24 of its 34 four rest areas in the last decade and Virginia plans to close nearly half its pit stops this summer, despite strong local opposition. Some states—especially ones with big open spaces to drive through—are bucking the national trend. Texas closed some old rest stops last year but replaced them with Wi-Fi-equipped new ones.