100-acre ‘super rest stop’ planned near Cumby
Kerry Craig | News-Telegram Assistant Editor

Jan. 18, 2006 -- Plans for a "super rest stop" near Cumby were unveiled in a public meeting in that town Tuesday evening.

Included in the plans is a change to one-way traffic on the frontage roads near the rest areas.

The rest area will involve a total of 100 acres, 50 on each side of Interstate 30 east of Cumby. Compared to the rest area near Mount Vernon, the proposed project is a "notch up on the scale," according to Ernest Teague, Sulphur Springs area engineer for Texas Department of Transportation.

The area will have a fully enclosed air conditioned facility that includes a lobby area and two sets of restrooms, 24-hour security guards and hiking paths. A majority of the area, however, will be dedicated to parking.

"They are trying to make these a more restful rest stop, to get people off the road and away from the traffic," Teague explained. "Both of these locations are taking advantage of fairly thick woods to build a sound and sight barrier from the normal road traffic."

One-way traffic on the service roads will be required under federal guidelines.

"One of the requirements for a rest area is that there cannot be two-way traffic on the service roads. If you are going to interact with a service road, you cannot have two-way traffic," Teague said. "It doesn't make sense if you are going to have a rest area and have opportunities for head-on collisions."

The state first gave consideration in initial plans to changing service road traffic to one-way between FM 499 and FM 275. That was found to be unacceptable to nearby residents and property owners.

Another option would be to route the frontage roads behind the rest areas.

"Looking at land that was available to us, that would eat up one-third to one-half of the land we were going to use for the rest area," Teague said.

A third option would involve limited one-way traffic through the rest areas. The service roads leading to the rest areas would remain two-way up to the exits off of I-30 to the rest stops. 

For drivers headed from Sulphur Springs into Cumby, two ideas are being considered. One would move the exit closer to the city. The other would have westbound traffic into Cumby exit off of I-30 east of the rest area and go through the rest stop.

"We are going to work with the city of Cumby and the county to build a small connector street that would allow people access to properties on the Cumby side of the rest area facilities," he said.

Teague said he anticipated having environmental processes completed in the near future, but additional public hearings will be held before construction can begin on the project.

"At this point, if we can keep everything on a fast track, we  hope to have our design complete in about a year," he said. "We could be going to construction in the fall of 2007 and be complete sometime in 2008."

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