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March 31, 2014

State budget to allow Worcester rest area to reopen, Seward says

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A rest area off Interstate 88 in Worcester, closed by the state four years ago in a cost-cutting move, will be reopening as a result of funding in the state budget agreement, Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, said today.
The rest area is between Exits 18 and 19,  off the highway's eastbound lane.
Seward called the closing of the facility "an affront to public safety," noting he pushed to have funding tucked in the spending plan being voted on by lawmakers today.
"Finally, we will be able to tear down the barricades and reopen this service facility, critical to the motoring public.  The amount of money allocated to keep the rest area operating is $1.2 million, Seward aide Jeff Bishop said.
A building housing public bathrooms will likely require repairs before it is opened, he said.
The budget agreement provided no funding to reopen the I-88 rest area in Wells Bridge, according to Seward.  It is between Exits 11 and 12, also off the eastbound lane.  Like the Worcester rest area, it was closed in 2010. Seward said he will continue to push for funding to get that rest stop opened.
"In this day and age, when so much attention is focused on ‘texting zones’ and similar measures, we need to enhance highway safety, not reduce it,” he said.
No date has been set for the opening of the Worcester rest stop.

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