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Popular Gaviota rest areas closing May 5

Flickr member Tom Hilton

The popular Cal Trans rest area on the Gaviota coast will shut down Monday, May 5 so work crews can give both the northbound and southbound Highway 101 facilities a major upgrade.

The project will include renovations to the plumbing systems, adding low flow fixtures and faucets that automatically shut off. In addition, the facilities will get cosmetic makeovers, including new landscape and irrigation systems.

"They're very busy," said Cal Trans District 5 spokesperson Jim Shivers, who estimates a million people per year use the facilities. "I don't know it's the busiest one in the state, but when you think about Highway 101 between San Francisco, the Central Coast and the LA area, the Gaviota rest area, both of them are used 24 hours a day, seven days as week, they never close."

But, in this case, they will close—and for a relatively long time. The facilities are expected to be completely shut off to the public through the remainder of the year, reopening sometime in early 2015.

A Bay Area company landed the construction project with a bid of $927,000.