EVERETT – Travelers who frequently use rest areas along Interstate 5 between Everett and the Canadian border will need to plan for long-term closures, beginning Friday, Oct. 15.
The Washington State Department of Transportation closed the southbound I-5 Silver Lake Rest Area, located at milepost 188 in Everett, for maintenance work and cleaning on Sept. 24. This closure will be extended indefinitely.
In addition, rest areas located on northbound and southbound I-5 at Smokey Point north of Marysville and at Custer north of Bellingham, will close for at least three months beginning Friday, Oct. 15.
"The decision to close these rest areas is not taken lightly," said Morgan Balogh, WSDOT assistant regional administrator for Maintenance. "Our priority is keeping the roadway safe for all users and we need to shift our resources moving into the winter months."
The rest areas are useful for people who need to take a break from the highway. However, in recent months, there have been numerous issues with some visitors who are not using the facilities for their intended purpose. This includes those who extend their stay beyond the posted limits, illegal disposal of trash and waste, vandalizing the buildings, verbally abusing and even threatening WSDOT employees.
The dump stations for recreational vehicles will remain closed at Silver Lake and in both directions at Smokey Point. The agency is working to open access for the RV dump stations at the northbound I-5 Smokey Point Rest Area in the next few weeks. Neither of the Custer Rest Areas have dump stations.
WSDOT will reevaluate reopening all rest area facilities early next year and will make a decision based on crew and resource availability.