Big Piney Rest Area to Close â€“ Will Become Arkansas Tourist Information Center
POPE AND JOHNSON COUNTIES, AR The Big Piney Rest Area, located between the cities of Knoxville, Arkansas, and London, Arkansas, on Interstate 40, will undergo a complete transformation into an Arkansas Tourist Information Center; the work will require closure of the rest area for more than a year, according to the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation (AHTD) officials.
Both eastbound and westbound facilities are scheduled to be closed and will remain closed for the duration of the project. Weather permitting; the Arkansas Tourist Information Center at Big Piney will open mid-2017. Motorists should plan to use alternate facilities until the project is completed.
Transformation of the Big Piney Rest Area will include demolition of the existing restrooms and construction of larger buildings to accommodate a greater number of restroom facilities that meet the latest Americans with Disabilities Act requirements, are more family friendly, and feature baby changing stations.
Unlike the Department's Welcome Centers, the new Tourist Information Centers will be unmanned, equipped instead with self-service kiosks that feature the AHTD's highly successful travel and construction information site, IDriveArkansas.com. Additional kiosks will provide weather conditions and forecasts as well as information about local amenities to include attractions, dining, lodging, and more. Limited public Wi-Fi access will also make its debut at the new facility.
Transformation of the Big Piney facility is the first among several Rest Areas that will become Tourist Information Centers. See attached drawings of a typical facility. Later this spring, the White River and Social Hill Rest Areas are scheduled to undergo the same conversion. Additionally, the Arkansas Welcome Centers in Harrison and at the Red River (U.S. Highway 71 in Little River County) will be replaced with new facilities.
The Big Piney Rest Area was originally constructed in 1991. Crow Paving of Morrilton was awarded the contract in December 2015 for transforming it into an Arkansas Tourist Information Center with a bid of $3.6 million.