Break from driving: New Shandon rest stop unveiled

Caltrans on Monday led local leaders and the media on a tour of its revamped, $3 million rest stop off Highway 46 East near Shandon.

The project a mile east of the Highway 41 interchange has been under construction since fall 2009. The stop is expected to open to the public next week, officials said.

Taxpayers paid to have the 30-year-old rest stop torn down and rebuilt so that it could operate more efficiently and comply with disabled access laws.

About 1.5 million motorists previously stopped there each year as they traveled from San Luis Obispo County eastbound toward the San Joaquin Valley, according to Caltrans.

The new facility, which sits on 11 acres, has 20 new toilets as well as new electrical, sewer and water systems. There are also information kiosks, historic displays, picnic tables, benches, trash and recycling containers, lighting, pet areas and new landscaping.

It was funded through the federal Recovery Act, which is paying for other highway transportation infrastructure projects statewide.

Specialty Construction Inc. of San Luis Obispo was the contractor.