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.