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Facility destroyed by fire resumes limited operations before the Memorial Day weekend

FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 25, 2017) - Just in time for the busy Memorial Day weekend travel period, motorists heading south on Interstate 65 in Hart County will have access to the rest area that was destroyed by a January 2016 blaze. 

The facility, located at mile point 59, is set to reopen on Friday, May 26 at noon. Services will be limited to include truck and motorist parking, as well as restroom access. Crews are still in the process of completing the final punch list of items including landscaping, trim, vending services and other cosmetic repairs. Signs alerting motorists of the work in progress will be displayed around the facility. 

“We are fortunate to reopen the rest area in a timely manner thanks to our partnership with state agencies and contractors,” said Secretary Greg Thomas. “We are glad that motorists have the opportunity to utilize the rest area again.”

Crews anticipate that the final repairs should be complete within two weeks while landscaping work will continue through the fall.

“Everyone along this portion of the I-65 corridor is thrilled to have the rest area open again, especially the citizens and business community of Hart County,” said Sen. Steve Meredith, of Leitchfield.  “We greatly appreciate the Transportation Cabinet's commitment and efforts to have this restoration project completed as soon as possible.  It serves as another example to the people traveling through our state that Kentucky is open for business.”

With AAA forecasting a record number of Memorial Day travelers in more than a decade across the country, increasing access to rest areas couldn't be better timed. 

“I am pleased that the Transportation Cabinet has taken action to get the rest area in Hart County reopened, just in time for the holiday weekend,” said Rep. Bart Rowland, of Tompkinsville. “While last year’s fire was tragic, and work will continue to get the rest area back to where it was, this is good news for all of our citizens, including the many travelers who will be out and about this weekend.”

The facility was destroyed by a fire on Jan. 5, 2016 shortly after 2 a.m. CST.  The interior was completely damaged leaving just the shell of the building.  The Office of the State Fire Marshal determined that the cause of the blaze was an electrical issue.

The southbound Hart County rest area welcomes approximately 1.5 million visitors annually.

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