A rest stop on Interstate 280 often used by northbound drivers heading to San Francisco reopened Thursday after a two year closure.
The Crystal Springs rest area, known by car travelers as the place along the highway where a huge statue of Father Junipero Serra can be seen, closed in September of 2009.
"We completely tore down the old restrooms, and then build from the ground up," says Bob Haus, Public Information Branch Chief for Caltrans.
The new rest area features 24-hour surveillance cameras, a California Highway Patrol drop-in station, vending machines run by the Department of Rehabilitation, new landscaping, a new wheelchair ramp, and the new restrooms, including a "family" restroom.
"If we have someone that is elderly or disabled, and they travel with a caregiver of the opposite gender, there’s a restroom set aside for them that’s open for both genders," says Haus.
"The family rest area is a huge plus," adds Caltrans Chief Deputy Director Dan McElhinney. "If you need to support a family member, you can do that."
McElhinney estimates the old rest stop was built in the late 1950's or early 1960's at a time when the the United States interstate system began construction. Fifty years later, the rebuilding of an entirely new rest area cost $2.7 million, about $1 million less than Caltrans estimated when first embarking on the project.
McElhinney says he expects about 200,000 visits to the facility every year.
Caltrans estimates 110,000 cars pass by the rest area on Highway 280 every day. He says the location of Crystal Springs is unique to the northbound traveler. "It gives you a chance to stop before you hit heavy traffic, you can plan ahead for a place to stop, and now we’ll have some new vending machines in case you need something to drink, as well as these new comfort stations."
Says Haus, "This is a state of the art rest area; we’re very, very proud of all the work that’s gone into this."
The rest area will be open 24 hours.