The Siskiyou Safety Rest Area and Welcome Center for Interstate 5 south of Ashland reached another milestone last month.
The Ashland City Council approved providing water and sewer services for the facility, which is located near I-5 milepost 12. The conditional approval requires that the Travel Oregon-funded welcome center be constructed at the same time as the rest area and that construction must take place within four years.
“This will be a great opportunity to develop and enhance tourism efforts in Oregon while improving safety for drivers,” said ODOT Area Manager Art Anderson.
The new rest area facility will feature state-of-the-art construction featuring a Cascadia-type lodge that matches the Northwest architecture of the area. Sustainable landscaping will also reflect native vegetation and Oregon’s commitment to environmental stewardship.
ODOT will seek irrigation water for eco-friendly landscaping from other sources. The agency’s efforts to use drought tolerant plants are evident in the construction of the improved, wider bridge and gateway landscaping planned at the nearby south Ashland interchange (exit 14).
The project’s development included a restroom facility that has already been constructed at the Ashland Port of Entry to accommodate the commercial trucking industry. Truckers will be legally prohibited from using the Siskiyou Safety Rest Area.
Planning for the facility has taken more than a decade. The original Siskiyou rest area located on a downgrade near milepost 10 was closed for safety reasons in the mid 1990s. The Federal Highway Administration approved the closure and continues to be supportive of the relocation plan.