It’s good news for drivers who travel the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway.

A major effort to upgrade the service areas along both toll roads is about to begin, and it won’t cost you a dime.

Starting Friday, Sept. 7, the Monmouth service plaza on the Parkway in Wall and the Thomas Edison service area on the Turnpike in Woodbridge will be closed so new facilities can be constructed.

Tom Feeney, a spokesman for the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, said the new Monmouth rest stop will feature Shake Shack, Chick-fil-A, Auntie Anne’s, Starbucks and a Z Mart.

He said the new Thomas Edison rest stop on the Turnpike will have Starbucks, Z Mart, Auntie Anne’s, Burger King and Chick-fil-A.

“They’ll be completely torn down and new facilities built and that will take until Memorial Day of 2019," he said.

He noted this is part of a seven-year, $250 million project that calls for a total of 16 rest areas to be upgraded or rebuilt.

“It’s at no cost to the toll-payers on the Turnpike and the Parkway. These are capital investments made by the companies that operate the service areas."

All of the work will be paid for by HMSHost, the company that provides the concession and food areas at the facilities, and Sunoco, which operates the fueling stations. In exchange, both companies will continue to run their respective businesses on the Turnpike and the Parkway for the next 25 years.

State Sen. Pat Diegnan, D-Middlesex, who chairs the Senate Transportation Committee, said this may cause a little inconvenience but it’s well worth it.

“It’s not going to cost us any money and we’re going to get state of the art rest facilities, it’s definitely a win for the state of New Jersey.”

Assembly Transportation Committee Chairman Dan Benson, D-Mercer, agrees.

He said even though these rest areas will be completely closed until spring, which means the bathrooms will also be shut, the project is very important and worthwhile .

“If you haven’t traveled up the Turnpike or Parkway or other parts of New Jersey and been to these rest stops you might be shocked by the condition that they’re in,” he said.

“Some of the conditions are deplorable and it’s time to move ahead with a strong overhaul.”

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