WHATCOM COUNTY, Wash. — The Custer rest areas on northbound and southbound I-5, along with other rest areas south to Everett, will be closed beginning Friday, October 15th according to a WSDOT announcement today, October 13th.
In addition to the Custer rest areas, effected rest areas include southbound Silver Lake Rest Area in Everett, and Smokey Point rest areas on northbound and southbound I-5 north of Marysville.
The announcement cited staffing needs and safety issues as the reason for the closures. The closures will continue for at least 3 months.
“The decision to close these rest areas is not taken lightly,” said WSDOT Assistant Regional Administrator for Maintenance Morgan Balogh. “Our priority is keeping the roadway safe for all users and we need to shift our resources moving into the winter months.”
Rest areas are typically open 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.
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.WSDOT press release (October 13, 2021).
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.
CORRECTION: This story was originally published with a headline that stated “all” rest areas between the border and Everett would be closed. That appears to not be correct as the Bow Hill rest areas, both northbound and southbound, were not listed as facing the extended closure. This was corrected within minutes of publication.