Rehabilitation of Highway 62 West, Crater Lake National Park, Klamath County, Oregon
This section describes existing park maintenance operations as it relates to the proposed action.
The principal maintenance procedure taken on Highway 62 West is snow removal. Snow removal on park roads represents 70% of the annual road maintenance budget (Toso pers. comm. 2002). The park employs seven full-time employees, including a foreman for snow removal operations. The park uses two primary pieces of snow removal equipment—the push plow and the rotary plow. The push plow pushes snow off to the side and the rotary blows the snow up and over the banks. The rotary plow is generally not needed until later in the winter season when snow begins to build up along the sides of the roads. The push plow is faster than the rotary, but does need to maintain speed to push and lift the snow from the roadway. The push plow can be used singularly; however, the rotary is used in tandem with the push plow.
Due to the tightness of the turns in the switchbacks, the push plow often cannot maintain the necessary speed to push and lift snow off the road. As the snow plow operator attempts to push the snow off the road, the resistance from the snow pushes the plow, on occasion, forcing it into the other lane and on-coming vehicles, thus creating a safety hazard. In many cases, snow plow operators must use multiple approaches along this road segment to fully clear the road or use the rotary plow more frequently and earlier in or later into the season resulting in inefficiencies in snow removal through the switchbacks (Toso pers. comm. 2002).
Crater Lake National Park staff currently conducts minimal maintenance activities (only pothole repair) on Highway 62 West (Toso pers. comm. 2002). Additional maintenance activities are not conducted due to poor condition of the road surface, rendering these actions a wasteful use of funds.