Just in time for summer, the I-5 Siskiyou Safety Rest Area and Welcome Center is set to welcome visitors.
Its opening marks a milestone more than 20 years in the making. It’s taken that long to go through the journey of finding the site and conduct the comprehensive planning efforts, including lengthy hearings and appeals and conditions, as well as construction to get to the opening.
“This has been a long and heavy lift to get this facility open and allow visitors to enter a modern rest area and welcome center,” said ODOT Area Manager Art Anderson.
Travel Oregon and chambers of commerce statewide have been looking forward to the welcome center portion of the facility, especially for those first-time travelers who stop by the center.
ODOT closed the old rest area in 1997 for public safety, following a series of commercial truck crashes within the small rest area located on the Siskiyou Pass grade, about two miles south of the new location. Since the closure, ODOT has been under Federal Highway Administration scrutiny to replace the old rest area for weary travelers coming off the Siskiyou Summit. This new $12 million rest area and welcome center features a northwest-inspired fire lookout between the restrooms and the welcome center. The center will be an information hub for travelers and a welcome oasis into the state staffed by Travel Oregon. It will also house an office for Oregon State Troopers working the summit.
Commercial vehicles over 20,000 lb Gross Vehicle Weight will be prohibited from using the facility. They will be directed instead to the Ashland I-5 Port of Entry, six miles north.
“This new facility will help enhance and inspire the journey of those visiting our state for the first time,” said Travel Oregon CEO Todd Davidson.