Drivers along I-40 this holiday season can take a breather at a rest area in Johnston County. The westbound and eastbound stops near Benson have re-opened after a nine-month remodeling project.
The NCDOT put $1.5 million into renovations and upgrades for the facilities which now meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.
Transportation department spokeswoman Jennifer Garifo says the look of the rest areas was designed and decorated to pay homage to the state's signature industry.
"When people get off of I-40 on either eastbound or westbound, they're going to be pulling up to this nice new rest area that they will see is designed to look like a barn," Garifo says. "So when you enter through the doors, you'll see crafts and pottery that really reflects the agricultural industry of North Carolina."
Garifo says the buildings have also been equipped with energy-saving amenities as part of their modernization. The improvements include LED lighting and water heated by solar energy.
She says this is an example of redesigns they're starting to build around the state.
"We have another couple of rest areas further out in the Western part of the state where we have done stuff like this," Says Garifo. "Not only have we re-designed the them to really reflect the local culture and economic development of that area but also we have included these energy-saving, environmentally-friendly features at these locations.
The rest stops have been operated for 23 years accommodating about 719,000 travelers last year.