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OR 140: Ritter Road - Deer Run Road (Bly Mountain) Project

Current News

OR 140 Bly Mountain project achieves major milestone
Sections of the new OR 140 alignment opened late last summer and construction crews continue to make progress to complete this nine mile stretch of highway. 
Crews continue to complete paving, guardrail, sign installation, delineators, and erosion control measures this summer. Motorist can expect delays up to 20 minutes with single lane closures controlled by a flagger and pilot car. 
The $24 million project is partially funded through the Jobs and Transportation Act from the 6 cent increase in the state gas tax in 2009. Construction began in July 2014 and is scheduled to be completed in fall 2016.
For a video showing work currently underway (including blasting) click here.

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Easy to Remember Internet Address
The project website's Internet address is a bit easier to remember... Just www.blymtn.com.

Project Components

  • Straighten curves and widen the roadway, including shoulders.
  • Repave the entire 9.2 mile segment of highway.
  • Remove obstacles in the clear zone, which is the area beyond the edge of the highway that allows a driver to stop safely or regain control of a vehicle that leaves the roadway.
  • Install new or upgrade existing guardrails.
  • Upgrade existing signage to meeting current standards.
  • Upgrade three stream crossings to provide adequate fish passage.
  • Realign the Bly Mountain cutoff road intersection and add a left hand turn lane on westbound OR 140.
  • Relocate the Road Weather Information System (RWIS) station to Bly Mountain Pass.

These changes will improve truck passage, provide better sight distance, and improve the overall safety of this section of OR 140.

Construction is slated to begin summer 2014 and be completed in 2016. 

Project Information

Project Location
The project is located approximately 25 miles east of Klamath Falls on OR Highway 140 between Mileposts 25 and 34 (see Vicinity Map).

Project Purpose
The purpose of the project is to improve operational conditions on a 9.2-mile segment of OR 140 between Ritter Road and Deer Run Road.  Once completed, the project will improve safety and ensure the roadway can continue to serve as a lifeline route to area residents and road users. In addition, upgrades to OR 140 in this area will address current truck length restrictions.

OR 140 is heavily used by the trucking industry to transport goods and services, particularly the transport of hay, logs and other forest products.  The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), the South Central Oregon Area Commission on Transportation and the trucking industry would like to see improvements to OR 140 because of its economic importance to the southern part of the State.  It is an important economic transportation link between Jackson, Klamath and Lake Counties. 
Project Information Paper

Why this Project is Needed

This narrow, icy roadway is common in this section of OR 140.  
A narrow, icy roadway common in this section of OR 140.
Currently the highway cannot effectively function as a Statewide Freight Route due to its substandard horizontal and vertical alignment that restricts truck lengths. The substandard alignment reduces overall mobility and safety in this corridor.  Trucks longer than 65 feet are not permitted on this stretch of OR 140.
The existing pavement condition rating for this segment of highway is poor, with poor drainage contributing to sub-grade failure.  The pavement is rutting, raveling, and cracking, and has many patched areas.  This section of OR 140 has exceeded its design life.  As a result, this section of highway is costly to maintain with an average annual estimated maintenance cost of $55,000.
There are a number of other problems that need to be corrected in this section of OR 140.  There are sight distance problems at the OR 140/Bly Mountain Cutoff intersection.  Other safety concerns include:  narrow travel lanes, substandard shoulder width, icy surface conditions in winter at several shaded locations, rocks regularly falling onto the roadway from some cut slopes, and roadside hazards (e.g., rocks protruding adjacent to the road) that increase crash potential.
This section of highway is experiencing a large number of crashes relative to other segments of the highway and similar highways statewide.  From 2003 through 2006, there were a total 30 crashes, which resulted in 2 fatalities and 18 injuries.  The crashes were predominantly vehicles hitting fixed objects, such as trees or rocks, off the roadway.  Grades and curves were the primary reasons for these off-roadway crashes.   The existing Average Daily Traffic (ADT) on this highway segment is approximately 1,000, with trucks representing about 25% of that traffic.

Environmental Analysis 
A number of natural resources, including wetlands, fish and wildlife, and historic resources are found in the project area.  The project crosses private lands and federal lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the US Forest Service.  To help address these issues, the project team included representatives from Klamath County, BLM and the Forest Service.  In addition, ODOT consulted with the Klamath Tribes.

After the many studies were completed in preparation for an Environmental Assessment, it was determined that the project would not have significant environmental impacts.
  The environmental studies are documented in a Categorical Exclusion prepared for the Federal Highway Administration. 
ODOT is still required to obtain necessary permits and approvals for the project.

How to Get Involved

Past Activities
An Open House was held on May 7, 2009 at the Fire District #5 Station.  Approximately 25 people attended.  Project team members captured and prepared responses to comments made at the Open House.  A document containing the comments and responses is found below.
Responses to questions from the May 7, 2009 Open House
Open House announcement 
Project Newsletter - January 2014

OR 140/Bly Mtn. Cutoff Road Intersection
Figure 1 - OR 140 Ritter Road to Bly Mtn. Cutoff Road
Figure 2 - OR 140 Ground Hog Lane to Sparrow Drive
Figure 3 - OR 140 Sparrow Drive to Polar Bear Lane
Figure 4 - OR 140 Polar Bear Lane to Deer Run Road

Project Newsletter - Fall 2009                                Boletin del Proyecto - Otoño 2009

Project Funding

The project is being funded in part by the Jobs for Transportation Act (JTA) enacted in 2009.  The total project cost is estimated to be $31 million, of which $13.5 million is JTA funding.  The balance of funding comes from the Federal Highway Administration and Klamath County.

Project Timeline

Environmental  documentation completed  2013
Design  2011 - 2014
Contract Bid Let  2014
Construction  2014 - 2016


Office Phone
Email Address
 Tom Feeley  Project Manager  (541) 883-5780  Thomas.J.Feeley@odot.state.or.us
 Butch Hansen  Area Manager  (541) 883-5778
 Abbey Driscoll  Community Liaison    (541) 388-6064  Abbey.Driscoll@odot.state.or.us​