The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

AP story section

December 14, 2013

Iowa to close some rest areas along interstates

DES MOINES — State officials plan to close two highway rest areas and are considering shutting down more of the facilities in an effort to save money.

Paul Trombino, director of the Iowa Department of Transportation, said officials have decided not to replace two rest areas along Interstate 80 near Des Moines that will be demolished in 2015 as part of a freeway interchange project. There aren’t plans to remove any of Iowa’s 38 other full-service rest areas, but some will likely be shuttered in coming years as the state tries to cut costs and prioritize infrastructure projects, Trombino said.

“There will be fewer rest areas in the state as we go into the future. There is no question about that,” Trombino told The Des Moines Register.

The 40 rest areas cost the state about $6.1 million annually to operate. The two rest areas set to close accommodated nearly 730,000 travelers in 2012.

Trombino said most of Iowa’s rest areas were built in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Since then, many businesses have sprung up along the highways that cater to motorists, making rest areas less essential, he said.

Some travelers who stopped at the Interstate 80 rest area slated for closure had a different view.

“I just don’t feel comfortable stopping at a gas station if we are not going to buy anything,” said Dianne Heimendinger, of Bettendorf, who was driving with her husband to Colorado. “I would prefer a rest area like this to walk around, picnic, that sort of thing.”

Johnnie Rodarte, a Council Bluffs resident who was driving with his wife to Des Moines, said he prefers the rest areas to truck stops, where he often feels he’s wading through lines of customers.

“If it was me, I wouldn’t close these rest areas,” Rodarte said. “I think it is a good idea to keep them open.”

Text Only
AP story section
  • State to reopen Juvenile Home DES MOINES -- A district court judge on Wednesday ordered the state to reopen the Iowa Juvenile Home, telling Gov. Terry Branstad he cannot unilaterally change a law approved by the state Legislature. Judge Scott Rosenberg said the home in Toledo was

    February 6, 2014

  • Panel OKs ban on remote abortion pill distribution DES MOINES -- A legislative panel approved a measure Wednesday that would ban the remote distribution of abortion pills, a proposal the bill's sponsor said is intended to delay the procedure and give women more time to change their minds. The subcomm

    February 6, 2014

  • Sioux City gambling group halts local grants SIOUX CITY -- The nonprofit that holds the gambling license for the Argosy Sioux City riverboat casino has voted to temporarily stop sending grants to local charities and government agencies. A legal dispute with the operator of the casino, Penn Nati

    January 15, 2014

  • Davenport pays, apologizes to hearing impaired man DAVENPORT (AP) -- The city of Davenport has issued an unusual apology to a former alderman after a police employee was caught on tape saying that he intentionally knocked softly on the hearing-impaired man's door when responding to a service call. Th

    January 15, 2014

  • Budget Branstad presents budget for next fiscal year DES MOINES -- Gov. Terry Branstad offered a budget proposal Tuesday that includes a tax break for veterans, a tuition freeze for college students and incentives to encourage Internet expansion in rural Iowa, a more modest list of priorities one year

    January 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gov. restores more felons' voting rights IOWA CITY (AP) -- Gov. Terry Branstad restored voting rights to more felons in 2013 than the prior two years combined, but thousands of others remain disenfranchised under a 2011 policy change. Data released by the governor's office to The Associated

    January 15, 2014

  • Man fatally shot at Fla. theater over texting WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla. (AP) -- A 71-year-old retired police officer accused of shooting a man dead in a Florida movie theater told authorities that "he was in fear of being attacked" during Monday's confrontation. Curtis Reeves is charged with second-de

    January 15, 2014

  • Iowa Senator: Congress must confirm election board DES MOINES -- An Iowa senator asked a U.S. Senate committee Wednesday to confirm appointees to a federal election commission so a decision can be made about whether Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz is properly using money for voter-fraud investig

    January 9, 2014

  • School Discipline Gov't: End overly zealous discipline in schools WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Obama administration is urging schools to abandon overly zealous discipline policies that civil rights advocates have long said lead to a school-to-prison pipeline that discriminates against minority students. The wide-ranging

    January 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • Governor, lawmakers set modest goals for 2014 DES MOINES -- After reaching bipartisan agreements on several major policy initiatives last year, Gov. Terry Branstad said Wednesday that he is setting more modest expectations for the 2014 legislative session. Speaking at The Associated Press' annua

    January 9, 2014

AP Video
National News