Rest area rebuild expands Gee Creek site

first_imgMore than a month after the southbound Gee Creek Rest Area closed for a complete rebuild, there’s no sign of the old facility at the popular Interstate 5 pit stop.There’s no sign of the new facility, either. That’s because the new buildings are being constructed hundreds of miles away in Spokane. By the time they’re trucked to Clark County in November, the premade structures will be all but finished.“They just set them with the crane, tie them in and turn on the lights,” said Rick Haight, a foreman with Longview-based contractor Five Rivers Construction.Everything from the lights and hand-dryers to the baby changing stations will be included when the buildings arrive, Haight said.“All the fixtures are in there,” he said, noting the off-site approach also saves time and money.The Washington State Department of Transportation operates dozens of aging rest areas, many of which were built in the 1960s and 1970s, said spokesman Bart Treece. The $1.1 million rebuild of the southbound Gee Creek Rest Area will expand the facility from one building to two, and from eight toilets to 14, he said.“This will hopefully set us up for years to come,” Treece said.The upgrade also means maintenance will be easier on visitors, Treece said. When the rest area was a single building, maintenance work often meant closing the site or hauling in portable toilets. Now, the transportation department can keep one building open while crews work on the other. The rest area sees about 800,000 visitors annually, according to the transportation department — a figure calculated by the number of toilet flushes.last_img

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