ARLINGTON – The Pilot Travel Center at Island Crossing officially opened today to a non-stop bustle of area residents, truckers and travelers, but they weren’t the only ones celebrating.
A couple of youngsters enjoyed birthday parties inside to a chorus of “Happy Birthday” and a warm Cinnabon roll.
Center employees said they are thrilled to be open. Business was brisk from the time they opened the doors Monday morning, which also ended weeks of people dropping by asking if they were open yet. They got that question a lot.
The 9,520-square-foot upscale truck stop at 2430 Highway 530 just off Interstate 5 Exit 208 features a drive-through Arby’s, Cinnabon, PJ Fresh gourmet market and seating area to eat, retail space and outdoor seating. It also offers eight truck fueling lanes, 12 gas fuel pumps for cars and three for recreational vehicles, parking and a CAT scale for trucks and parking.
Additional amenities include restrooms, showers and a public laundry room just past the aisles of food items, electronics, automotive goods and other travel essentials.
The Travel Center brought about 70 jobs and other economic benefits to the community, with all but a few of the positions filled by locals.
There are three access points to the Pilot Travel Center, including two on Highway 530 and one on Smokey Point Boulevard. Semi-trucks were already making use of the main entrance off the highway that requires them to exit onto the boulevard before doubling back toward I-5.
For the short term, Arlington, Snohomish County and the Stillaguamish Tribe are working with the state Department of Transportation to get a jump on plans for a traffic signal west of the triangle-shaped intersection at Highway 530 and Smokey Point Boulevard to more safely reroute trucks on a highway that already experiences traffic congestion at varying times.
The new upscale truck stop is one of more than 750 travel centers in the U.S. and Canada owned by the Knoxville, Tenn.-based Pilot Flying J company.
“Pilot Flying J couldn’t be more excited to serve the community and those traveling through Arlington,” said Stephanie Myers, a spokeswoman for Pilot Flying J. “We are committed to being a positive contributor to both the local community and economy.”
The new Travel Center is forecasted to contribute more than $5 million state and local tax revenues annually, with more than $200,000 to go to the city as sales and property tax.
This story originally appeared in The Arlington Times, a sibling paper of The Daily Herald.