The second stage of construction for the new I-5 Siskiyou Rest Area and Welcome Center is slated to begin later this year. The facility, located two miles south of Ashland, is scheduled for completion in late 2018.
The project’s second stage entails construction of Cascadia-themed welcome center and rest area buildings. The gateway theme for visitors will be environmentally friendly with a sustainable ethic that complements the Welcome to Oregon sign at the California border and interchange aesthetics constructed at Ashland Exits 14 and 19.
The city of Ashland will provide potable water and sewer service to the facility. The Talent Irrigation District will provide water for landscaping.
Prime contractor Wildish Standard Paving of Eugene provided earthwork, paving and drainage. First stage work included the grading and paving of the on- and off-ramps and the parking lot.
“The wet weather this past winter and spring delayed the construction schedule,” said ODOT Project Manager Tim Fletcher. “However, the contractor was able to get back on the grade in late May and should finish up the first stage of the project this fall.”
The contractor also built a service road east of the Crowson Road I-5 overpass that will be used to deliver materials during construction and, later, for daily operational needs, including staff and deliveries, and emergency service vehicles.
“We’ve provided emergency service access to the facility both via the service road as well as at an I-5 crossover,” said Fletcher.
The old rest area, located on a steep Siskiyou Pass grade two miles south of the current project, was closed in 1997 for public safety following a series of commercial truck crashes in the facility. Construction on the new rest area and welcome center began in November 2015.
Commercial trucks will not be permitted to stop at the new rest area. Restroom facilities were constructed at the Ashland Port of Entry, located between Ashland Exits 14 and 19.
“Another major safety improvement accomplished with this project is separating restroom facilities for commercial trucks and the general public,” said Fletcher.
When complete, the facility will be managed by the Oregon Travel Experience, serving northbound I-5 travelers out of California. The Oregon Travel Experience currently operates 29 rest areas at 17 locations around the state in addition to 10 travel information centers along Oregon’s most heavily used highways.