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Interstate 81 rest stop closed for repairs

February 06, 1997

By CLYDE FORD

Staff Writer, Charles Town

MARLOWE, W.Va. - Travelers heading south on Interstate 81 through West Virginia will have to wait a while longer to find relief.

The rest area and information center located just south of the Maryland border are closed as workers renovate the facility, said Eddie Lucas, crew leader of the Interstate 81 maintenance shop of the West Virginia Department of Transportation. His shop is responsible for maintenance on the 26 miles of I-81 through West Virginia and the two rest facilities - one off the southbound lanes and the other off the northbound lanes.

The renovation work started on Monday and is expected to be finished by tonight, Lucas said.

The facility will reopen on Friday morning, he said.

The workers are installing new partitions in the rest rooms, he said. The facility is 22 years old and it is the first time the partitions have been changed, he said.

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More than 250,000 visitors stop at the facility a year, he said.

Similar work was done about two weeks ago on the rest area off the northbound lanes of Interstate 81 just north of the Virginia line, Lucas said.

The partitions cost about $20,000 total, he said. They had arrived last May, but the work was put off until a slow time for travelers to cause as little disruption as possible, he said.

The information center had to be closed along with the restrooms to avoid any possible injury to travelers, he said. There was concern that people could trip over the power tools or electrical cords.

Workers got an idea how important the rest area is by listening to the citizens band radio as truckers radio others about the facility being closed, Lucas said.

A lighted message board advises motorists the facility is closed and the next nearest public rest area off the southbound lanes of Interstate 81 is about 30 miles away in Virginia, Lucas said.

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