West Grand Junction exit becomes busier with truck stops

Photos by DEAN HUMPHREY/The Daily Sentinel—Love’s Truck Stop has been open since early June at the Interstate 70 interchange with U.S. Highway 6&50. Across the highway, in the photo below, the sign for a second new truck stop, Pilot Travel Center, can be seen over the shoulder of a motorist at the gas pumps

After about $8 million in road improvements and the construction of two new truck stops near Exit 26 on Interstate 70, the area has a bustling feel.

Love’s Truck Stop has been open since early June, and Pilot Travel Center, which is across U.S. Highway 6&50, was to open today.

To better handle traffic entering and exiting the interstate, the Colorado Department of Transportation provided about $5 million in grant dollars for building a diverging diamond interchange. The city of Grand Junction fronted about $3 million to realign 22 Road to accommodate the traffic the new truck stops will create. The road is expected to help spur commercial and industrial development in that area.

It’s unclear how much economic development and tax revenue the new truck stops will generate, but having the facilities open for business should help boost city dollars in some ways, said Tim Moore, the city’s deputy city manager.

“We look at it like it might help,” Moore said. “There are restaurants there and they’re selling merchandise that will help. Overall it’s a positive impact.”

The truck stops combined employ about 100 people. Pilot’s is expected to have a McDonald’s and Love’s has a Carl’s Jr. restaurant.

The city doesn’t benefit from fuel taxes, but it does collect sales taxes on other goods the truck stops provide.

The area off Interstate 70 was chosen specifically because of its access and its remoteness from other major travel centers along the interstate, said Pilot spokeswoman Anne Lezotte.

“One of the major reasons we wanted to go in there is the great access in that area both for professional drivers and others,” she said.

Lezotte said the travel center is expected to bring in more than $3.1 million a year in state and local taxes. The 12,500-square foot facility will carry food items, two automatic teller machines, a lounge for truckers and the McDonald’s. There are eight diesel lanes for truckers, 12 lanes for fuel and two lanes for fueling recreational vehicles.

Love’s has two buildings. One is the 11,000-square-foot travel stop with food items, the Carl’s Jr. and seven showers. Love’s also features a separate tire service facility for truckers.

Love’s has 80 spaces for truck parking, 16 gas-fueling lanes and seven diesel-fueling lanes, Love’s spokeswoman Kealey Dorian said.

Love’s has been busy since it opened, and it experienced an especially busy Fourth of July weekend, Dorian said.

The area is popular with truckers because it represents a respite along long-haul routes east over the Rockies or west into Utah.

“We want to make it easy and accessible for all drivers,” Dorian said. “We want to do our best for the community and make it better.”


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