With the Texas Canyon Rest Area along Interstate 10 reopening Thursday after a six-month renovation, the Arizona Department of Transportation is moving past the halfway point in a decade-long effort to improve rest areas statewide.
Texas Canyon, between Benson and Willcox in southeastern Arizona, will be the ninth of ADOT’s 17 rest areas to be improved since 2013. The San Simon Rest Area near the New Mexico line on I-10 reopened in May.
Many of the improvements are designed to repair or replace aging infrastructure that in some cases has been in place for as long as 50 years. The largest effort: making significant improvements to water and wastewater systems, including drilling through hundreds of feet through rock to find new sources of water. Pipes and septic systems that have reached their life expectancies are being replaced.
ADOT also is working to make certain that all rest areas comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act so every traveler can take advantage of the facilities. Other work includes new pavement, new fixtures in restrooms and repairs to buildings. The cost of the work varies but averages about $3 million per rest area.
The renovations are designed to make Arizona’s rest areas more functional and pleasant.
“Not only are rest areas important places for drivers to take a break from the road, they’re a place where Arizona can make a good impression on those from elsewhere,” ADOT Director John Halikowski said. “They have to be clean and provide the services visitors expect on their travels across Arizona.”
Rest areas once were little more than bare-bones stopping spots on the freeway, offering drivers only a chance to visit a restroom and stretch their legs before getting back on the highway. Today, renovated rest areas offer much more.
All Arizona rest areas include drinking fountains and vending machines, pet exercise areas and relief stations. Some, including Sunset Point on I-17, offer stunning mountain and desert views. And they’re clean: Caretakers are on-site at most rest areas 16 hours a day.
Updates will continue around the state through 2020.
I-10 Arizona rest areas:
- Ehrenberg, milepost 5, updated 2014
- Bouse Wash, milepost 53, updated 2013
- Burnt Well, milepost 86, updated 2014
- Sacaton, milepost 181, update 2017
- Texas Canyon, milepost 320, updated 2016
- San Simon, milepost 388, update 2016
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