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TORONTO, Ont. -Professional drivers who were concerned that the service centres along Ontario's busiest corridors may not be redesigned with their interests in mind, appear to have been correct.As construction continues on many of Ontario's...

TORONTO, Ont. –Professional drivers who were concerned that the service centres along Ontario’s busiest corridors may not be redesigned with their interests in mind, appear to have been correct.

As construction continues on many of Ontario’s 23 provincially owned service centres, professional drivers are finding truck parking at some sites is inadequate. At West Lorne, for instance, pull-through truck parking spots have been replaced with spaces that require a driver to back in blindside, professional driver James Garvin told Truck News. Worse, the width of the spaces don’t even account for a truck’s mirrors. Garvin parked in one of the spaces recently and noted his mirrors overhung the white lines.

West Lorne does, however, have six drive-through RV spots and four LCV parking spaces.

The West Lorne service centre is still under construction, but Garvin worries the parking situation won’t improve. When he asked a general contractor on- site about the lack of truck parking, he said he was told truckers shouldn’t be stopping there anyway since there’s no diesel available. He also said contamination at the old fueling site forced them to push the buildings back into the parking area.

Garvin said the westbound Tilbury North service centre has somewhat better truck parking.

“Truckers with bunks don’t have to blindside it in, even though they are back-in spots and not pull-through,” he said.

The province inked a deal with Canadian Tire to operate the fueling stations at the service centres. Harry Rudolfs, on-road editor for Truck News and a full-time driver said he recently stopped at the Wooler Hill service centre to check out the selection of goodies at the Canadian Tire gas bar. While he was disappointed with the selection, he said that service centre had “almost adequate” truck parking. But that location was expanded several years ago.

“You can usually find a spot somewhere in the back row at least,” he said.

Rudolfs tries to avoid the service centres along the 401 whenever possible.

“These highway rest stops are almost an anathema to me,” he said. “I take my breaks mostly off-highway because you never know what you’re going to get in them: stuck behind someone for 10-15 minutes, or blocked in by sleepers, or not able to find a spot and having to drive right out again.”

Garvin, however, was hopeful that the reconstruction of the service centres would result in more parking for professional drivers -not less.

In fact, the MTO Web site published assurance that: “Commercial truck drivers will have more convenient access to these new service centres. The redeveloped service centres will feature larger spaces for parking.”

“I was excited when they started building, that we would get more parking,” he said. “This has been a disappointment.”

The service centres remain at various stages of construction. Dutton, West Lorne and Tilbury in both directions offer washroom facilities and vending machine food as well as parking. Some sites should be fully operational by the end of this month, complete with restaurants and other services, according to the OnRoute Web site

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