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PHILADELPHIA -- Travel centers along the Pennsylvania Turnpike are slated to get a refresher, as a $170 million project is underway to remodel the 18 travel plazas along the highway, eTrucker.com reported.
Each of the plazas will offer more truck parking than before, spokesman Carl DeFebo told the Web site. "The challenge is to get more parking where we can," he said.
HMSHost and Sunoco have managed the plazas previously, and were again awarded a 30-year contract to build, manage and maintain the new plazas, according to the report. The main facilities will be increased by 5,000 square feet and feature 24-hour convenience stores and restaurants, the report stated.
Other new features include touch-free restrooms, landscaped grounds with pet walking paths and new technology and security systems, the report stated. Fueling stations will offer modern pumps, additional staffing and alternative fuels.
The highway's oldest plazas date back to the 1940s, when the first section of the Turnpike was opened, the eTrucker.com report stated. Rather than adopting a strategy that would require two to three years to complete, officials chose to close three or four plazas per year between Labor Day and Memorial Day. During that time, those plazas will be completely rebuilt, according to the report. The first station to be rebuilt was in Oakmont, which reopened in June, the Web site stated.
Last month, Allentown, Sideling Hill and North Somerset plazas closed to be remodeled. The project will continue until 2011, the report stated. As part of the project, three plazas will be eliminated -- Hempfield and South Neshaminy plazas have already closed, and the North Neshaminy plaza is slated to close in 2010, the Web site reported.