Crater Lake's Rim Drive in line for extensive repairs

CRATER LAKE — The 30-mile drive around Crater Lake could get a major facelift under a plan by the U.S. National Park Service to shore up rock walls, lay new asphalt and make traveling safer for visitors.

The project would rehabilitate all 29.4 miles of East and West Rim drives as well as adjacent spur roads and parking areas.

Project officials say numerous cracks and ruts have appeared and shoulders have eroded along the rim. The park sees some 482,000 visitors a year and receives an average 533 inches of snow annually, wreaking havoc on the Rim Drive.

"The problem was identified that the road has been here a long time and it's needing some work," said park roads foreman Matt Shaefer.

Renovations could include constructing new retaining walls, resurfacing paved areas and reinforcing fill slopes. Park officials said in a press release they are concerned with rockfall from adjacent slopes, specifically the sites on the East and West Rim drives, Munson Valley Road, Cloudcap Drive and Pinnacles Road.

"The proposed rehabilitation work would improve travel safety for the public and reduce road maintenance requirements," the release said.

Timelines and budget for the project are not yet available.

The National Park Service is preparing an environmental assessment to evaluate the potential impacts of the rehabilitation work.

The public may submit comments on concerns or suggestions regarding the project online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/crla or via mail no later than Oct. 19 to: Superintendent at Crater Lake National Park, P.O. Box 7, Crater Lake, OR 97604.

Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or by email at rpfeil@mailtribune.com.

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