Red Deer County’s Junction 42 truck stop is booming, and Mayor Jim Wood sees even more untapped potential.
Forty-eight drive-thru spaces are available for truckers in what is officially known as Junction 42 Partnership Rest Area, just off Highway 2 near Penhold and is expected to attract 300,000 visitors this year.
The county plans to more than double to 98 spaces, which would make it the largest such truck stop in Canada, Wood said.
“I thought, ‘Wow, that’s really good bragging rights.’
That kind of buzz would do wonders to attract more trucks, RVs and other motorists, as well as the businesses to serve them, he added.
Wood said the site would be perfect for a full-service restaurant, truck wash, tire stores, parts stores or repair shops. In the longer term, a hotel would be a good choice.
“I believe all of these things are going to start happening in due time,” he said.
“We have already started to see success beyond our expectations.”
Truckers have resorted to roadside parking on occasion because the rest area is full, he said.
The county showed the province the number of visits and requested funding to cover half the cost of expanding the truck stop, which serves many long-distance truckers and creates economic benefits far beyond county boundaries.
“I think we have a great opportunity to work with the province,” he said.
Penhold Mayor Mike Yargeau added his voice to the call for improvements at Junction 42. The development generated more business.
Now might be a good time to ask the province for money.
Last month, the province announced it was seeking parties to develop 18 highway commercial safety rest areas across the province.
Contracts will be awarded later in 2022. Construction could begin as early as 2023.