Bids open soon for the first phase of construction on the new Siskiyou Safety Rest Area and Welcome Center, which will be constructed alongside the northbound I-5 lanes, approximately two miles south of Ashland Exit 14.
The first phase of construction includes the facility’s roadways and ramps. Once a contractor is selected, work is expected to begin later this year or as soon as weather conditions are conducive for road construction.
The Siskiyou Safety Rest Area and Welcome Center will serve as a signature destination for northbound travelers, those just needing to stretch their legs and visitors looking to learn more about Oregon tourism.
More than three million vehicles travel north on I-5 into Oregon each year. According to the Oregon Tourism Commission, each dollar spent operating a welcome center equals $41 in visitor spending.
“The Welcome Center, co-located with the rest area and operated by Travel Oregon, will be a local, regional and statewide economic generator,” said ODOT Area Manager Art Anderson.
The facility will house an outdoor kiosk, restrooms and an office for Oregon State Police troopers as they patrol south Jackson County and the Siskiyou Pass. Commercial trucks will not be allowed to use the facility. A restroom for those customers has already been built at the Ashland Port of Entry station, which is located between Ashland Exits 14 and 19.
The project’s second phase will build two Cascadia-themed buildings. The Cascadia designs would add to the facility’s gateway look for visitors. The second phase of work is scheduled to bid in 2016.
Replacement of the rest area involved a nearly two-decade effort after the previous facility, located on a six-percent grade, was closed for safety concerns in 1997.