Rest area and welcome center
Looking east from Interstate 5, south of Ashland, travelers see foundations set and walls going up for the I-5: Safety Rest Area and Welcome Center project. Prime contractor Adroit Construction of Ashland began work this summer on the Cascadia-themed facility. Building construction on the welcome center and rest area facilities will continue through spring 2019.
Building construction is the project’s second phase. The first phase entailed building the I-5 ramps and roadway in and out of the facility.
When complete, Oregon Travel Experience and Travel Oregon will operate the facility to serve I-5 travelers who just crossed the Oregon-California border.
“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.
The new facility is open to all traffic except commercial trucks. ODOT built new restroom facilities for the trucking industry at the Ashland Port of Entry, located between Ashland I-5 Exits 14 and 19.
ODOT closed the old rest area in 1997 for public safety following a series of commercial truck crashes within the rest area, which was located on a steep Siskiyou Pass grade roughly two miles south of the current location that is under construction.
Construction work wraps up later this month on the $5.4 million highway improvement project designed to enhance safety and livability along Oregon 99 from Talent south to Ashland.
Prime contractor Knife River Materials of Central Point has two distinct work areas. From Rapp Road to Creel Road in Talent, highway enhancements include new storm drain, curb, gutter, sidewalk, bike lanes and center-turn lanes. South of Creel Road to the Ashland city limits, highway enhancements include a new center-turn lane and wider shoulders for bicyclists to improve safety as well as paving and restriping travel lanes to accommodate the new lane configuration.
The city of Talent contributed $400,000 to the project, which will allow for a safer roadway for all users of the area between Talent and Ashland.
“We’re upgrading the roadway and accommodating vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians as well as making Oregon 99 safer for residents and business customers who need to make a left turn,’ said ODOT Project Information Specialist Gary Leaming.