to upgrade Camas Express site
Representatives from the Nez Perce Tribe and Idaho Transportation Department will jointly celebrate the beginning of construction on new facility for travelers on U.S. 95 Thursday, Sept. 20.
A public groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. (PST) at the Camas Express gas station/store near the top of the Winchester Grade, at the south Winchester turnoff.
The cooperative effort to rebuild and expand services at the Camas Express began several years ago. The agreement is based on a successful “Oasis” partnership near McCammon that takes advantage of an existing Flying J truck stop on Interstate 15.
The partnership will help expand services at the Camas Express to serve drivers on Idaho’s only major north-south highway. Initially, ITD considered building a new rest area in the area but chose the Nez Perce Tribe partnership instead to take advantage of an existing facility and avoid duplication of services.
“The Nez Perce Tribe purchased this business and property location on the Camas Prairie with the intent to develop the business as a tribal enterprise,” said Jamie Olson, executive officer of Nez Perce Tribal Enterprises. “Our partnership with the Idaho Transportation Department provides an even greater economic development opportunity for the Tribe’s business expansion.”
The tribe will replace the existing building and expand the parking area at a cost of approximately $3.8 million using Certified Indian Business contractors. The tribe’s new Construction Management Group will oversee the enterprise project.
ITD’s priority is to ensure the same quality amenities found at state-operated rest areas, including public restroom facilities, picnic areas, overnight truck parking and a safety rest stop for motorists.
The public will have 24-hour free access to restrooms at the reconstructed Camas Express through a separate entrance that will not require individuals to go through the convenience store unless they choose to do so.
“It’s a win-win proposition for the tribe, travelers and the state,” explains District 2 Engineer Jim Carpenter. “The new facility will fill a 182-mile void between existing rest areas on U.S. 95, save ITD the cost of building a new, separate rest area at that location and provide higher visibility for the convenience store.”
The closest state-operated rest areas on the highway are Sheep Creek, about 121 miles south of Lapwai (89 miles from Winchester), and Mineral Mountain, 26 miles north of Moscow.