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Highway rest stops have been improved on I-10 near Van Horn

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Highway travelers traversing a long, lonely stretch of West Texas desert have a new place off Interstate 10 to take a break with the opening of modern new rest areas outside Van Horn.

Culberson County’s new “safety rest areas” are located on I-10, both east and west, nine miles east of Van Horn and will replace the old rest areas four miles outside of Van Horn, according to the Texas Department of Transportation.

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The new 24-hour rest areas – which opened to the public on Saturday, June 1 – took into account location, design and amenities in a bid to entice drivers to stop and rest to help combat off-road fatigue, it said TxDOT in a press release. .

“Driver fatigue is a leading cause of serious traffic crashes across the state,” Brent Johnson, director of TxDOT’s Roadside Facilities Section, said in a statement.

Driver fatigue can be a challenge during the 500-mile drive through long stretches of deserted desert between El Paso and San Antonio.

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New “safety rest areas” across Texas feature heated, air-conditioned restrooms, wireless internet, indoor exhibits, a tornado shelter, law enforcement office space and enhanced security, including surveillance cameras, according to the state transportation department.

There will be parking for 58 commercial trucks and 27 cars at each of the Culberson County rest areas, which also have a shaded playground and walking trails, officials said. Visitors can stay at a rest stop for a maximum of 24 hours, according to state law.

The Culberson County Safety Rest Area will be similar to the Pecos County Safety Rest Area on I-10, which opened in 2018, 26 miles west of Fort Stockton.

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The Culberson County Safety Rest Areas “will not only contribute to safer travel with state-of-the-art amenities, but also highlight the historic regional importance for all who pass through,” El Paso District Engineer Tomas Trevino said in a statement.

The facility has educational exhibits on the Guadalupe Mountains, the 1850s Butterfield Overland Mail Coach Trail and the Blue Origin space rocket launches near Van Horn, Trevino said.

The Culberson County locations are the newest of 76 safety rest areas along Texas roads and highways, TxDOT said.

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