Hysham Rest Area, Montana Department of Transportation

Project overview

For more than two decades, CWG Architecture has worked with the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) to continually improve and refine rest areas across the state for the current needs and future demands of the traveling public. MDT needed a cost-effective, functional design that would produce a facility that was secure, robust, and easy to maintain that could hold up to decades of heavy use. Hysham Rest Area consists of an eastbound and westbound site is in a remote section of Interstate 94. Each building offers restrooms, picnic areas and pet facilities throughout the entire year, as well as a small building for water and wastewater utilities.


  • CDM Smith Inc., a fully integrated design and general contracting firm, added CWG Architecture to the design-build team because of our unmatched Montana rest area architectural experience.
  • CWG was responsible for the rest area building architecture and design, including the submittals for structural, electrical, and mechanical from team members at CDSI and BCE structural. 
  • The design aimed to use our knowledge from previous rest area projects such as Columbus, Divide, Dena Mora and Bozeman to improve upon the design concepts and continue to exceed MDT’s goals. 
  • Picnic shelters and amenities were kept close to the buildings and parking areas to simplify requirements for ADA compatibility, lower the amount of snow removal on unnecessary sidewalks and paths as well as allows security cameras to cover more of the facility by including the picnic shelters.


The Hysham Rest Area project was completed on schedule and with no cost escalation. The building provides a welcoming feel with large expanses of glazing and natural lighting. To increase safety and line of site, abundant LED lighting was used within the buildings and parking lots to ensure increased visibility throughout the entire area while maintaining cost-effectiveness. With safety being the top priority, Hysham Rest Area utilized new technology which implements security cameras and network systems with a live feedback from a central location in Helena. The design integrates durable construction materials and systems that will provide decades of low maintenance and energy efficiency for the State of Montana without compromising aesthetics. This design speaks to both the function and place.

“Our established design-build procedures, with CWG and CDM Smith have raised the bar for expectations going forward on all Rest Area projects.”
—Montana Department of Transportation