Public-Private Partnership for Route 6 Rest Area Clears Federal Hurdle

BARNSTABLE – A public-private partnership to operate the Route 6 Eastbound rest area in Barnstable is one step closer to becoming a reality after the county received approval from the Federal Highway Administration.

County officials have discussed the idea as maintenance and restroom cleanup costs have become harder to cover.

County Administrator Jack Yunits said the idea is to keep the rest area open year-round.

“The demand is there,” Yunits said. “And it provides great public safety and a public service during the summer with tourist information being provided at it.”

County officials will work with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, which leases the property to the county, on a long-term lease with a private company to operate a manned convenience area with tourist information.

“It’s been done in other states so there is no reason why it won’t work here,” Yunits said.

Yunits said there would not be a gas station on the property due to its location abutting an aquifer.

“They’ll be a convenience area and it’ll be manned and it will be open during peak hours, hopefully,” he said.

Details would be worked out by a committee formed by the Cape’s Legislative Delegation and the towns of Barnstable and Yarmouth.

County Commissioners have once again approved a grant to the Yarmouth Chamber of Commerce to operate the rest area for the summer.

Yunits said the county hopes to have a partnership in place for summer 2019.

“I think [County Commissioner Chair Leo Cakounes] has made it pretty clear that he would like this to be the last year we fund this,” Yunits said. “Our goal would be to have something up and running for next May.”

A public-private partnership would eliminate $40,000 in maintenance costs per year for Barnstable County.

The property is owned by MassDOT but needed federal approval as it fell under the jurisdiction of the Federal Highway Administration.

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