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Crater Lake's West Rim Drive temporarily closed for roadwork

A 6-mile section of Crater Lake National Park's West Rim Drive between Rim Village and North Junction will be closed about five days a week until sometime next month for road construction.

The road will be closed from 9 p.m. Sunday through 4 p.m. Friday, reopening Friday evenings, all day Saturdays and most of the day Sundays, according to a news release from Crater Lake National Park. The road will be open Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 4.

The road, which travels along the western side of the lake, will receive structural maintenance to shore up the road in multiple spots where the shoulder had been crumbling away. Planned work includes widening the road base and repaving some of the overlook points, according to park public information officer Marcia McCabe.

"Our road is built on the side of a crumbly volcano, so it's a difficult thing to maintain and keep in place," McCabe said.

The park receives an average of 523 inches of snowfall each year, making the window for construction projects rather narrow.

"Our construction season is so short, and unfortunately it coincides with our busy visitors season," McCabe said.

Park officials have also opted for the closure because of its close proximity to the Spruce Lake fire, a 4,885-acre blaze that's part of the High Cascades Complex. On Tuesday, the fire was 45 percent contained, but smoke from the fire and more than a dozen others burning across southwest Oregon has made visibility tough for drivers.

The Rim Trail will remain open during the construction, as will all other roads, facilities and services in the park, officials said.

It's the latest phase in a 3-year list of about $18 million worth of road construction projects in the park. Previous work has included stretches of East Rim Drive, a repaving project at the Cleetwood Cove trailhead parking area, along with repaving and sidewalk maintenance at Rim Village.

— Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@mailtribune.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/ryanpfeil.