Highway 140 will get an upgrade in two places in the coming years, at the Brett Way Extension at Homedale Road and the Southside Bypass, and from Lakeshore Drive to the Klamath County Boat Marina.
The two ODOT projects are in the engineering and permitting phases before the agency can go out for bids for businesses to take on the construction.
South Central Area Manager for ODOT Jarod Johnson called both of the projects safety improvements to address areas that see a high number of crashes.
The project people will see the soonest movement on will be the expansion between the boat marina and Lakeshore Drive which can begin as soon as late spring of 2020. Johnson said they will seek bids for the project in spring and once the project has been awarded to a company, they can begin.
Crews will widen Highway 140 to 12-foot lanes and 6-foot shoulders between the boat marina and Lakeshore Drive and will also soften some of the curves along the lake, Johnson said.
The first phase of the project will address the portion of Highway 140 along the lake, which will likely take about three years. The second and third phases are the sections between Geary Canal and the hill and then the hill to Lakeshore Drive, which ODOT is only doing the engineering on for now, and will shelve the construction for a later time and future funding cycles.
Crews will have to stop construction for most of winter and spring due to environmental restrictions which allow for construction from midsummer time to around December. During construction, traffic will be reduced to a single lane with alternating traffic.
The Brett Way project will be shorter, only estimated to take one year, and will also reduce traffic to one lane on Highway 140 and sections of Homedale Road. Johnson said they’re working on a traffic plan to see what those lane closures will look like, and will let the public know when to expect delays.
The project will first extend Brett Way to Homedale Road, with the second phase constructing a roundabout at the intersection of Homedale Road and the Southside Bypass to increase safety with the new traffic flow expected. Crews will also replace the railroad crossing on Summers Lane with one on Highway 140, just west of Summers Lane. The third piece will add bus pull outs at the railroad crossing.
According to the project’s page on the state’s website, “Between January 1, 2002 and April 30, 2011 there have been 24 crashes, 28 injuries and 1 fatality at the intersection of Summers Lane and the Southside Bypass. Extending Brett Way would allow the elimination of through traffic on Summers Lane between Brett Way and the Southside Bypass. Extending Brett Way will also open new opportunities for development for the city by allowing for more traffic capacity and better connectivity.”
Construction can begin on Brett Way as soon as the end of 2020 or the beginning of 2010. Crews can work throughout the year without restrictions on this project.
The Highway 140 West upgrades near Upper Klamath Lake will also allow over-dimension trucks, or loads that need special permitting, to continue along the highway, eliminating the need to take a longer route via Westside Road, saving about 45 minutes, Johnson said, and protecting county-maintained roads from the wear of handling that sort of traffic.
The Highway 140 project from the boat marina to Lakeshore Drive is largely funded by a grant from the Federal Land Access Program with the goal to improve access to federal lands.
The project is also a partnership between ODOT, Klamath County and Western Federal Lands, which is a subset of the Federal Lands Highway Division.
The Brett Way project is a partnership between ODOT, the city of Klamath Falls and Klamath County.
The Brett Way Extension has a price tag of about $11.6 million, with $180,000 of that coming from the city, and $850,000 coming from the county, including the donation of some county properties affected by the project. The rest is funded by ODOT using state and federal dollars.
Although lane closures are necessary during construction, Johnson said, “We understand there will be hardship for travelers and locals. We appreciate their patience in dealing with what we’re trying to construct.”