Hwy 62 – 81 Visitor Use, Traffic, and Highway Safety

Rehabilitation of Highway 62 West, Crater Lake National Park, Klamath County, Oregon

 ENVIRONMENTAL CONSEQUENCES

ALTERNATIVE B: RESURFACING, RESTORATION, AND REHABILITATION

This section evaluates the potential impacts of alternative B.

Visitor Use, Traffic, and Highway Safety

This alternative would not add to traffic volume or visitor use for this area of the park.

Over the short term, visitor experience would be adversely affected by noise, dust, fumes, delays, increased congestion, and construction vehicle traffic along this section of Highway 62 West for the duration of road reconstruction activities. Some visitors would be dissatisfied because they would be unable to visit a particular feature or features due to road reconstruction actions, work on parking lots, and turnout closures. This would result in a short-term, negligible to minor, adverse impact. However, during the rehabilitation of Highway 62 West, speeds would be reduced in construction zones, possibly resulting in the reduction of the number and severity of vehicle accidents in these segments. This would result in a short-term, negligible, beneficial effect to safety.

The reconstructed road would provide a smoother ride. The consistent 11-foot travel way would meet the recommended National Park Service road standard for lanes. The consistent width would reduce frustration for some visitors, especially those operating large vehicles. Additional signage and appropriate guardrail installation would also improve the driving experience and safety. This would result in a long-term, negligible, beneficial effect.

The most dramatic change would be for eastbound drivers at Whitehorse Crossing. The hill would be flattened allowing for greater sight distance to the upcoming curve. Drivers may be able to anticipate the curve and adjust their speed accordingly, possibly resulting in a reduction in the number and severity of accidents along this segment of the road. This would result in a long-term, negligible, beneficial effect to visitor use and highway safety.

The reconstruction associated with alternative B would also allow for improved sight distance and safer egress of the Pacific Crest Trail parking lot and at remaining turnouts. This would result in a long-term, negligible beneficial effect to visitor use and highway safety. The loss of a turnout would have a long-term, negligible, adverse effect to visitor use.

Cumulative Impacts. Past, present, and reasonably foreseeable future actions that would have an effect on visitor use, traffic, and highway safety include trail rehabilitation and relocation, and the reconstruction of the Rim parking lot. The effects of these projects would be long term and negligible beneficial. Alternative B would contribute a long-term, negligible, beneficial effect to these actions.

Conclusion. Alternative B would have short-term, negligible to minor, adverse effects on traffic and visitor use, and a negligible, beneficial effect on safety. However, alternative B would have a long-term, negligible beneficial effect on visitor use, traffic, and highway safety. The cumulative effect would be long term, negligible, beneficial.

 

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