The I-5 southbound rest stop between Phoenix and Talent is frequently closed, likely causing much consternation for hundreds of travelers. It doesn’t appear to be a pattern for closures, and the blocking orange closed signs never indicate a reason. Can you get the scoop?
– Paul W., Ashland
SYA’s news office first contacted the Oregon Department of Transportation and then the Oregon Travel Information Council for this one, and the likely response is you’ve had a bit of bad luck, Paul.
First, a few facts. The rest area between Phoenix and Talent has a name: Suncrest. Located near mile post 22 and accessible only to southbound drivers, the Suncrest rest area has picnic tables, potable water, accessible facilities and vending machines.
The Suncrest rest area is overseen by Kevin Smolich of the Oregon Travel Information Council, who is also in charge of the Manzanita rest area five miles north of Grants Pass.
Suncrest shutdowns are generally not random, according to Smolich. Twice a month on Sunday evenings, it is closed for parking lot maintenance so that the land can be swept, a task that requires a completely empty facility. In addition to those cleanings, Smolich said, the rest area is only expected to close when an essential service is absent.
“The ones that are random, we try to limit them to very little, if any, for sewage, water or electricity,” Smolich said. “There is nothing we can do about electricity. When it came out, it came out. They just need to be closed.
Travelers can check the availability of a rest area by visiting tripcheck.com/pages/rest-areas, where you can also find details of each rest area in the state (there are 58).
Send your questions to “Since You Asked”, Mail Tribune Newsroom, PO Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; or by email to [email protected].