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Last updated: Thu. Nov. 15, 2012 - 08:33 am EDT

Perfect day for a drive – and rest area

New pit stop opens near Auburn

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Beginning today, motorists traveling north on Interstate 69 will have a new place they can stop to grab a snack, walk the dog or, more importantly, get rid of that feeling that comes with a downing a jumbo soda on the road.

A spacious, 4,500-square-foot rest area – complete with multiple rest rooms – will open at mile-marker 324 near Auburn about 10 a.m., Indiana Department of Transportation officials announced Wednesday.

The rest area occupies 20 acres, can accommodate 80 large trucks and 50 passenger vehicles and will have picnic areas and vending machines. It will also be staffed day and night, seven days a week, officials said.

But with the new opening, the Flat Creek rest area on northbound I-69 near the Huntington and Wells county line will close, officials said.

“The Auburn rest area is a modern facility that is handicapped-accessible and can accommodate a greater number of people and vehicles as it replaces the 40-plus-year-old facility on northbound I-69 in the Markle area,” Todd Johnson, INDOT’s Fort Wayne district deputy commissioner, said in a written statement.

The Flat Creek rest area is antiquated, and there are no plans to remodel or rebuild the facility, an INDOT spokeswoman said.

Indiana State Police will be on hand today to assist with the closure of the rest area, which is scheduled to take place at noon.

Three years ago, the Flat Creek rest area on southbound I-69 closed.

The next nearest rest area for motorists going south is in Delaware County near mile-marker 250, according to a map on INDOT’s website.

The old facilities in the Auburn area – rest areas were on both the southbound and northbound sides of the interstate – were closed in 2001 because of their age.

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