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.
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.