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Doak Mountain work to ease the lot of truckers, suckers

Construction crews lay down rock Monday that will be the base for a new truck lane up Highway 140 on Doak Mountain.

Published September 21, 2004


DOAK MOUNTAIN - A $9.1-million construction project on Highway 140 will make the heavily traveled road friendlier for motorists and endangered fish alike.

The finished product will not only be a wider road, but a rocky, curving shoreline with marshy sucker habitat.

"That's where the larval and juvenile suckers will be spending time," said Julianne Repman, spokeswoman for the Oregon Department of Transportation.

The shoreline is designed to mimic the natural winding edge of shoreline found just north of where Highway 140 turns from the edge of the lake to climb Doak Mountain.

Shallow water habitat for the suckers will be nestled among subtle coves and points, said Gary Larson, ODOT regional environmental coordinator.

"It's not spawning habitat. It's rearing habitat," he said.

Adding to the marsh environment will be reeds and other aquatic plants, along with 25- to 35-foot logs with root wads still attached.

Although the bane of fishermen, the roots wads are a favorite for fish because they provide a cool place to avoid predators.

Along a 2,000-foot stretch of highway being widened, about 100 feet of new shoreline will be added because of the meandering edge, Larson said.

The shoreline is being made of crushed rock, most of which is coming from an excavation on the west slope of Doak Mountain where the highway is being widened.


Logs with root wads and aquatic plants will be added along the new shoreline of Upper Klamath Lake beside Highway 140 just before it turns to climb Doak Mountain.


In all, six miles of the highway will be redone in the project. Once finished there will be two uphill lanes and one downhill lane on both sides of Doak Mountain.

The change should make traffic flow smoother over the pass in the winter, Larson said.

Big trucks will use the extra lane and an added chain up area at the base of the mountain by the lake to make the climb, he said.

"This will make things a lot safer," said Mike Stinson, ODOT district manager. "It will allow people to safely move around truck traffic that is climbing up the hill."

He said it is the first new project on the stretch of Highway 140 since 1969.

To accommodate the chain-up area, engineers considered expanding the roadway to the west, into the slope that rises from the highway.

Instead, it proved easier to expand east, into the lake.

"Normally, we would avoid filling into the lake, but the geology of the hill made it so we needed to," said Larson.

Raising steeply to the west from the highway, the rocky hillside would be a hazard if undercut, he said.

"We didn't want to create rock slides that would be another maintenance problem," Stinson said.

Although ODOT is filling a portion of the lake with rock, Larson said the size of the lake will be decreased by less than 1 percent.

Most of the project will be done next year, but some of the rock will need to settle before it is finally completed in 2006.

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