ODOT Project Manager Tim Fletcher is ready to begin the second stage of construction for the new I-5 Siskiyou Rest Area and Welcome Center. If all goes as planned, work should begin this summer. ODOT is currently reviewing the only bid submitted, from Adroit Construction of Ashland.
The multi-agency facility is located two miles south of Ashland along Interstate 5. The second stage builds the Cascadia-themed welcome center and rest area facilities. 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.
The Oregon Travel Experience will ultimately manage the facility’s daily operations, serving northbound I-5 travelers heading north from California. The Oregon Travel Experience currently manages 29 rest areas at 17 locations around the state as well as 10 travel information centers along Oregon’s most heavily used highways.
Other ODOT partners, Travel Oregon and the Oregon Tourism Commission are the “go to” experts on what to do, where to stay, and what to see when visiting Oregon. According to them, welcome center visitors are high-yield travelers. A Travel Oregon survey of overnight visitors to welcome centers in 2016-17, showed that visitors spent on average nearly 3.8 times the amount per trip compared to the average overnight visitor to Oregon.
“This new facility will help enhance and inspire the journey of those returning to Oregon or visiting our state for the first time,” said Travel Oregon CEO Todd Davidson. “Oregon tourism is an $11.3 billion industry that directly employs more than 109,000 Oregonians. Opening a welcome center at such a significant entry point to the state will help drive economic growth.”
First Stage Completed
Prime contractor Wildish Standard Paving of Eugene completed earthwork, paving and drainage during the first construction stage. That work included grading and paving of the I-5 on- and off-ramps and the facility’s parking lot.
A service road was constructed east of the Crowson Road overpass 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.
ODOT constructed restroom facilities for commercial truckers at the Ashland Port of Entry, which is located between Ashland Exits 14 and 19. The agency closed the old rest area in 1997 for public safety, following a series of commercial truck crashes in the facility. The rest area was located on a steep Siskiyou Pass grade two miles south of the current project.