August 4, 2014

Contact:          John Sales




 Public-Private Partnership Supports 400 Construction and 575 Operating Jobs

Monument Honoring Maryland Military Women to Open in September at New Facility


BALTIMORE, MD – Weather permitting, at 12:01 a.m. tomorrow, August 5, the MD Transportation Authority (MDTA) and Areas USA will officially open the new $26 million Chesapeake House Travel Plaza along I-95 in Cecil County, six weeks ahead of schedule.  The Market Place one-stop shop, Peet’s Coffee & Tea, Sunoco fuel station, A Plus convenience store and restrooms will be the first to open followed by the Earl of Sandwich at 6 a.m.  The remaining food concessions will open at 10 a.m., including Pizza Hut, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Wendy’s and Auntie Anne’s. 

Through an innovative Public-Private Partnership (P3) with the MDTA, Areas USA invested approximately $56 million to redesign and rebuild the Chesapeake House and Maryland House travel plazas on the JFK Memorial Highway (I-95) in northeastern Maryland.  The Maryland House in Harford County officially opened on January 16, 2014, with Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown and U.S. Senator Ben Cardin hosting a pre-opening tour and ribbon cutting of the new facility on January 13, 2014.

“The Chesapeake House, and the already operational Maryland House, offer state-of-the-art facilities and many options for residents and travelers,” said Lt. Governor Brown. “Through public-private partnerships like this one, we are able to create jobs and bring private sector innovation to our most critical infrastructure projects. I want to commend Areas USA for their work on this project, and I look forward to visiting the new monument honoring our Maryland Women Veterans.”

The Chesapeake House property includes a planned location for the Maryland Women in Military Service Monument.  The monument will honor women from the State of Maryland, past and present, who honorably and proudly served our nation in war and peace.  The Commission on the Establishment of the Women in Military Service Monument, in conjunction with Areas USA, the Maryland Department of Transportation and Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs, is coordinating the design and construction of the monument.  Installation of the Maryland Women in Military Service Monument is expected to be complete by late September. 

“Thanks to the leadership of Governor O’Malley and Lt. Governor Brown, Maryland has realized another successful public-private partnership to meet the transportation needs of our State while creating jobs in Cecil County,” said Transportation Secretary and MDTA Chairman James T. Smith, Jr.  “We can use these two projects as models in our efforts to deliver transportation solutions that make a real difference to Marylanders.”

The new 30,000 square-foot Chesapeake House features food from Earl of Sandwich, Pizza Hut, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Wendy’s, Peet’s Coffee and Tea and Auntie Anne’s.  The new 4,300 square-foot A Plus convenience store at the Sunoco high-speed fueling station features custom crafted food and drinks.  The Chesapeake House also includes the following amenities:

  •  Contemporary design and natural lighting;
  •  Additional bus parking and indoor/outdoor seating;
  •  Free Wi-Fi;
  •  Modern restroom facilities and equipment;
  •  Building with “green” features –LEED certified silver;
  •  Staffed Welcome Center; and
  •  Kids Korner seating area.

“We’re pleased to unveil this exceptional facility and introduce a new level of customer service to the millions of people who visit the Chesapeake House travel plaza each year,” said Xavier Rabell, CEO of Areas USA. “Working together with the Maryland Transportation Authority and many of our local partners, we have created an innovative facility that will exemplify Maryland’s leadership in water conservation and management and offers national brands, state-of-the-art facilities, convenient access and essential services, all within an environmentally sensitive design.”

Areas USA will operate and maintain the travel plazas through 2047, while the MDTA retains ownership and oversight of the plazas.  Sunoco, Areas USA’s gas partner, will operate and maintain the fuel stations.  The P3 agreement supports 400 construction and 575 operating jobs and will bring in more than $400 million to the State over the course of the 35-year agreement.

“Thank you to the millions of MDTA customers for their patience as Areas USA completed the new Chesapeake House six weeks ahead of schedule,” said MDTA Executive Director Bruce Gartner.  “The hard work and dedication of the hundreds of people who worked on this project is evident in both the new Maryland and Chesapeake House travel plazas, from the fresh landscaping and new sidewalks on the outside to the open space, natural lighting and modernized bathrooms on the inside.”

The original Maryland House, which opened in November 1963 along what was then called the Northeastern Expressway (I-95), housed a cafeteria and a sit-down restaurant with linen tablecloths and had two gas stations.  To meet the growing number of travelers along this busy interstate, the Chesapeake House opened in 1975.  The two travel plazas are among the busiest in the country, serving more than five million customers each year.

Timeline – Travel Plaza Redevelopment:

  • Sept. 16, 2012: Areas USA becomes new travel-plaza concessionaire.  The Maryland House closed for reconstruction; the Chesapeake House remained open.
  • Spring 2013: Construction begins on new Chesapeake House adjacent to existing facility.
  • Jan. 16, 2014: New Maryland House opens for business; Chesapeake House closes for reconstruction.
  • August 5, 2014: Chesapeake House reopens six weeks ahead of schedule.

Photos of the new Maryland House and Chesapeake House can be found at  Customers can provide feedback about the new Maryland House to Areas USA at 866-820-1178 or via email at