NPS and BPR Collaboration on Approach Roads
Routes 3 and 4 (Annie Spring to Rim Village)
Initial reconstruction of what gradually became known as the Munson Valley Road corresponded with the grading, surfacing, and paving of Routes 1 and 2 from 1926 to 1928. A slightly wider roadway of 20′ resulted from this project so that the surfaced width of the road could go to 16′. Virtually all of the grading and surfacing of the 6.4 miles of road through Munson Valley took place during the first two seasons of work, with Superintendent C.G. Thomson identifying a need for guardrails at hazardous points as well as “dust proofing” through a light application of oil. He also mentioned the greatly improved alignment resulting from “appropriate” log bridges across Annie Creek and Goodbye Creek, each constructed as part of the road project.
The first bridge, one measuring 152′ in length, spanned Annie Creek and appeared to relieve traffic congestion at the road junction there. The bridge, like the longer Goodbye Creek Bridge finished in 1929, was constructed of peeled Douglas fir and mountain hemlock. Although quite attractive with log balusters and rounded posts, both bridges needed major repairs by 1938. BPR engineers condemned the 240′ Goodbye Creek Bridge in 1941, even though the NPS had installed new stringers and decking members three years earlier.
With the Annie Creek span also scheduled for replacement, the anticipated high costs of new bridges led a BPR engineer to suggest several possible realignments of the Munson Valley Road in November 1941. Even with projections based on fills rather than bridges over Annie and Goodbye creeks, all of his estimates greatly exceeded available funding. The NPS limped through the next fifteen years by using a detour around the head of Annie Creek and another involving a temporary bridge over Goodbye Creek. Construction of new bridges finally began during the summer of 1955 as the first Mission 66 projects at Crater Lake. They consisted of glue-laminated beams and “square sawn” members bolted together, with the trussed “bent” legs resting on concrete piers. In all likelihood these structures manifested the first use of glue-laminate bridgework in the National Park System and constituted some of the earliest examples anywhere in the country.
Most of the work to reconstruct the Munson Valley Road took place over two summers beginning in July 1961. A typical section sported a roadway of 26′, while ten paved parking areas lined by bituminous curb were added along Route 3 and fourteen such pullouts appeared on Route 4. Two picnic areas were developed on either side of the Goodbye Creek Bridge, to some extent serving to better hide evidence of the detour road, as well as an older track used for access to the park’s main power line. Other changes included some special drainage treatments to alleviate problems with excess water caused by seasonal springs and seeps, so several masonry spillways were designed and placed at the edge of the roadway. Plans also showed two short realignments, the first being at Park Headquarters at the junction with Rim Drive, where a gas station built in 1926 had been demolished to make way for a new facility located across the Munson Valley Road in 1958. The other realignment came on a curve at grade located just uphill from the Goodbye Creek Bridge. In similar fashion to the picnic areas located on the South Entrance Road, old roadway was utilized for parking at what became a more defined trailhead. This change spurred conversion of an earlier “Godfrey Glen Trail” into a loop 1 mile in length, where visitors were aided by a pamphlet that interpreted sixteen stations along the circuitous footpath.
Realignment of the Annie Spring junction came independently of reconstructing the Munson Valley Road, first in 1958 when an entrance station and a separate office building were erected just south of the Annie Creek Bridge. This alignment moved the junction slightly away from the bridge in favor of creating a “T” intersection just south of it, one where islands bordered with concrete curb delineated turning lanes. Apparent dissatisfaction with the islands, most likely due to the complications they posed in winter snow removal operations, led to a more extensive realignment of the junction in 1968-69. This one involved moving a portion of Route 2 away from Mazama Campground, with the “T” intersection now placed half a mile south of the bridge.
Rehabilitation of the Munson Valley Road through a 3-R project came in 1996, with the undertaking largely aimed at recycling the pavement laid in 1962. It also included removal of several parking areas and two cut banks thought to impair driver visibility. Four small concrete retaining walls faced with stone masonry were added. These changes took place on Route 4 above Park Headquarters, in concert with a minor correction at the intersection with Rim Drive.