SHARECOMMENTMORE

COLUMBUS --Ohio's transportation department is seeking bids from developers interested in commercializing five state-owned rest areas on non-interstate roadways.

The agency released its request for bids on Monday for two rest areas on U.S. Route 50 in Athens County, along with two more on U.S. Route 33 in Hocking County and another facility on U.S. Route 23 in Pickaway County.

The request opens the door for bidders to potentially lease the rest areas and allow the bidders to place convenience stores, gas stations, restaurants or other commercial entities on the sites.

ODOT Director Jerry Wray has said the leases could help offset the costs of maintaining the state's 104 rest areas, which cost the state $30 million and $50 million annually to maintain.

Initial bids are due by July 20.