Whitewater, Calif. - Travelers looking to take a road side break along Interstate 10 in the Coachella Valley have had no place to stop since November. The long closure of the Whitewater rest stop has made things especially tough on truckers.
"Rest areas, they're closing those down left and right," trucker Mike Douglas said. "That's the only place we can (stop). We can't just pull these things over to the side of the road."
The closure has been good for business at the Pilot station a few miles west of the rest stop.
"Sometimes we want to stop and take a break and eat," trucker Emmanuel Mitchell said while washing his windows at the Pilot station. "I was going to stop on the way, but I had to come here."
The rest stop has been closed because it has had no water. You might think Cal Trans could keep the rest stop open, but the bathrooms closed. But they say people will find a way to go to the bathroom anyway, making it a public health issue. Without water, the rest stop is off limits.
This rest stop gets its water from a well. Back in November the pump for that well broke. Cal Trans says the previous pump is obsolete, so a new one had to be ordered and it did not fit the well.
The new pump had to be sent back to the manufacturer for modifications. Now, finally five months later, the pump is in, and the well is again pumping water at the Whitewater rest stop.
The water quality is being tested now, and the rest stop is scheduled to re-open Monday, March 24th.