The Indiana Toll Road's new owner will demolish and rebuild the rest stops in Portage, but without the restaurants that currently serve fast food to travelers.
Under a $30 million plan to upgrade rest stops, the easternmost ones in Steuben County will be eliminated and those in Rolling Prairie and Howe will be demolished and rebuilt into full-service travel plazas with gas stations, convenience stores and restaurants, according to ITR Concession Co.
The rest stops in Elkhart will be demolished and rebuilt along the same lines as those in Portage. The demolition and rebuilding of the Portage and Elkhart rest stops will take place from April to August 2016.
The two Portage rest stops and the ones in Elkhart will have gas stations and convenience stores once they are rebuilt.
A State of the ITR report delivered to the Indiana Toll Road Oversight Board in October 2014, identified multiple problems with rest stops along the 157-mile expressway. Those included deficient pavements, "high liability" RV dump stations, and standing water along with disassembled electrical equipment in basements.
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When Australian investment consortium IFM Investors bought the Indiana Toll Road out of bankruptcy earlier this year for $5.72 billion, it pledged major upgrades to the road and its much-maligned rest stops.
On Monday, Indiana Toll Road Concession Co. CEO Ken Daley signaled his company is ready to deliver on that promise.
"Our strategy is to create sites that will make Hoosiers proud of their state and their Toll Road," Daley said. "We are incorporating Indiana touches into the concepts and design and are ready to see them come to fruition."
A travel plaza page has been created at the Indiana Toll Road Concession Co. website at http://www.ezpassin.com/travel-plaza-master-plan/. It will be updated with information including current media coverage, plans and schedules for the new travel plaza buildings.