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Summer bridge project to delay Cascade Lakes Hwy. travel


The Deschutes National Forest and Deschutes County said Friday they have begun the process of installing a new bridge on Cascade Lakes Highway to improve fish habitat in Soda Creek — and that means some summer travel delays.

The project will temporarily detour traffic in the Sparks Lake Recreation Area vicinity for about a quarter-mile, fromJuly 13through mid-October. Officials said motorists should expect some traffic delays between Mt. Bachelor and Devil’s Lake while construction crews are working in the area.

Construction has already begun near the turn-off to Sparks Lake Recreation Area at mile post 25 along Cascade Lakes Highway (County Road 46) to install a temporary bypass road for the public to utilize while a new 65 foot single span concrete bridge is constructed.

The bridge is replacing a 9-foot-wide steel culvert that restricts upstream fish passage for some life stages of trout and other species, such as amphibians and invertebrates.

Soda Creek is 21 feet wide, and the narrowing of this passageway has increased water velocities.This poses a risk that the culvert will fail under compressed flows and fill with debris, officials said.

Once the bypass road has been completed, around mid-July, a 20 mph speed limit will be in place on the bypass road, which will be managed by stop signs at either end.

Visitors planning to drive on this stretch of road should anticipate delays and plan their trip accordingly. This speed restriction will be in place for the duration of the project.

Access to Sparks Lake Recreation Area on Forest Road 400 will remain open for the majority of the construction period, with temporary closures from July 6-18 to allow for construction of the road.

The area will them be closed for two full weeks at the end of the project for crews to deconstruct the temporary bypass road. This will also close motorized access to the Sparks Lake boat launch, as well as the Ray Atkenson trailhead during the temporary closure periods.

Soda Creek Campground will remain closed for the 2016 season to allow for construction and traffic detours.

The bridge construction project is funded through a Federal Highway Administration grant and is expected to be completed by the end of October.

Deschutes Construction Corp. was awarded the $776,690 contract.

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