DARIEN -- One of the busiest McDonald's restaurants in the country will be shuttered later this month as work begins to renovate the Interstate 95 rest areas.

Representatives from Project Service, a partnership between Subway sandwich shops and private equity firm The Carlyle Group, unveiled their plans to residents and town officials Wednesday for the redesigned service areas that call for new 24,000-square-foot buildings, gas plazas and other amenities.

The project is expected to take a year to complete, raising concerns about where tired truckers would be able to take breaks and if signs would be erected on the highway informing motorists of the closures. Construction on the northbound plaza is expected to begin March 22 and on the southbound side April 20.

"We have a situation where we don't have any facilities to handle where truckers can pull off," said Darien police Lt. Don Anderson. "I can see a large amount of traffic coming off of Exit 13. We would like to see signs advising truckers there is no place for them to park if they get off."

Paul Landino, chief executive officer of Project Service, said the plan is to move traffic north to the new Milford plaza and he hoped trucks would continue past Darien as well.

Project Service recently completed the rest areas in Milford -- among the state's 23 highway rest areas it will renovate over the next three years as part of a $178 million, 35-year deal struck with the state in 2010.

First Selectman Jayme Stevenson asked if it would be possible to put up signs warning drivers the plaza would be completely closed down. Landino said it would be up to the Department of Transportation to handle any signs.

Landino said he hopes the facility will encourage more interstate commerce because the Darien northbound service plaza is the first place many people stop. He said he had spoken with local farmers in the hopes they would consider selling their produce on the property.

Besides trying to attract more business to the plaza, the renovation will also improve the drainage systems on the property to prevent sediment and contaminants from getting into local waterways.

As part of the redesign, plans call for better separating traffic.

"The property is designed to keep trucks in the back and cars to the side," Landino said. "The goal is to have the best service plazas in the country."

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