18 Virginia rest areas closing at midnight Monday

By Matt Butner - bio | email
Posted by Phil Riggan - email

GOOCHLAND, VA (WWBT) - Today is the final day of operation for 18 rest stops along Virginia interstates -- and it's unknown if or when the facilities might re-open.

After seven years on the job, Evelyn Beard is making her cleaning rounds at the Goochland rest area for the last time.

"I love this job.  I love the people.  So, what can we do?  Pack up and go home," said Evelyn Beard.

A moving truck waits to carry her supplies away at the end of the day and orange barrels stand ready to block the entrance at the stroke of midnight.  It's a sad day for Evelyn and her co-workers.

"Today there was a few hugs, and it made me feel bad for them," Beard said.

The closures are bound to affect travelers as well.  Jake Arthur and his wife Mary stopped here for a picnic on their way from North Carolina to New York.  For them, it was a much needed break.

"This was a destination we were shooting for," Arthur said. "If it would have been closed I would have had to pull over and do my business on the side, which is not safe and not legal."

When Evelyn looks toward the future, she worries.  She's worried for her co-workers.

"A lot of the people who work here, this is their livelihood," she said.

She's worried about the vending machine company, which will have to find somewhere else to do business.  And she's worried about the truck drivers who stop here to rest.

"They make their living like that, and this is going to put such an impact on them," she said.

The only thing Evelyn doesn't seem worried about, is her own future.

"I'm gonna clean somebody's restroom. I hate to leave it."

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