Hydro project upgrade to restrict access to reservoir for 5 years

EUGENE, Ore. - Access to a Oregon reservoir and campground popular with anglers will be restricted for 5 years while a hydroelectric plant there undergoes a $100 million upgrade.

The Eugene Water & Electric Board expects to close Forest Service Road 730 at the Carmen-Smith Hydroelectric Project power plant. The road to Blue Pool Trailhead will remain open, with parking limited to one side of the road. The McKenzie River Trail will not be affected by the construction project.

Joe Harwood with EWEB said the utility recognizes the road accesses popular fishing and camping spots. EWEB wants to alert the public now about the need for the closure.

The road runs right over power generation equipment set for an upgrade under a proposed relicensing agreement.

The plan also calls for habitat restoration projects and campground improvements at Trail Bridge Reservoir.

The closure could begin as early as March, pending a final license from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Carmen-Smith is the largest EWEB hydroelectric project in its system.

The power plant pened in 1963 at a cost of $31 million.

The maximum power output is 118,000 kw, enough power to light up 16,000 homes.

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