Permanent fix coming for Stevens Creek Trail

Collapsed bank closed a section of heavily used Stevens Creek Trail near El Camino Real

After more than a year of waiting and traveling along detours, bicyclists and pedestrians who frequent the Stevens Creek Trail will be relieved to hear that a permanent fix is on the way.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District is seeking bidders to rebuild the Stevens Creek embankment that sloughed off into the creek after series of powerful, rainy storms in January 2017. If all goes according to plan, the newly paved asphalt trail, from El Camino Real to Yuba Drive, will be ready for use by September.

Water district board members were scheduled to approve the plans on Tuesday, March 13, but moved the item to the April 10 agenda. The move is not expected to delay the project.

The troubled segment of the creek trail, north of El Camino, has been out of commission due to safety concerns for nearly 14 months. The collapsed area became an urgent priority for the water district during the dry summer months when erosion unexpectedly worsened. The creek bank crumbled in late July and early August, causing a 60-foot length of paved trail to collapse. The water district CEO declared an emergency, saying it threatening adjacent private property, and prompting emergency repairs to shore up what was left of the embankment.

Although the trail is used by thousands of people during the morning and afternoon commute hours, bicyclists and pedestrians have been forced to take detours along surface streets and later a temporary detour trail veering through private property adjacent to the damaged trail until the water district completes a permanent fix.

The repair work is expected to cost between $1.2 million and $1.6 million and includes rebuilding the creek embankment that was shored up by the emergency repair project, followed by "re-establishing and re-aligning" the asphalt trail adjacent to the bank. Water district staff are hoping to heavily reduce the costs by seeking reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services, which could cover a combined 93 percent of the project costs, according to a staff report.

The staff report also states that the city of Mountain View will be on the hook for the cost of reconstructing the asphalt trail itself.

Because trail repair projects depend on dry conditions, the work will have to take place during the water district's designated "summer season," which spans from June 15 to Oct. 15. Water district staffers plan to have regulatory approval and award the contract prior to then, according to the report.


17 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 13, 2018 at 3:21 pm

That's a real cheap price to repair a major transportation route through the city. Too bad they couldn't do it last year for some reason.

3 people like this
Posted by Doug Pearson
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Mar 13, 2018 at 5:25 pm

Doug Pearson is a registered user.

I'm glad to see the proposal but can't help thinking it will be a temporary fix. I do not know if a permanent fix is even possible--erosion of the creek banks is an ongoing problem. The creek, as it is today, is the result of many centuries of erosion.

For example, south of El Camino Real, the broad, undeveloped area between the creek and highway 85 will be relatively unaffected by any erosion. In contrast, the trailer park west of the creek, also being nibbled away by erosion, is taking a serious financial hit.

3 people like this
Posted by Jes' Sayin'
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2018 at 10:36 pm

Trying to fight Mother Nature is never a good long term plan.

4 people like this
Posted by Citizen84
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 15, 2018 at 2:08 pm

Citizen84 is a registered user.

Kudos to the city for FINALLY making plans for a permanent fix of the Stevens Creek Trail.

Would it be too much to ask that the city exhibit some foresight now? Can the city remember that they approved Google site expansion that is very much adjacent to the Trail?

Without widening the Stevens Creek Trail now, where do folks think all this new traffic will go?

5 people like this
Posted by @Citizen84
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Mar 15, 2018 at 2:16 pm

Thank you, you sound like you know a thing or two about this.
Can you please let the rest of us know how many people will the new site house, and how many are expected to use the trail?

Without that info I'd have no real argument to widen the trail other than an uninformed opinion, missing evidence to prove the most basic of reasons. I'm assuming you wouldn't be advising a widening without those numbers so I would love to see it to bolster my argument, which was so flat without it. Apologies if you don't have the actual numbers.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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