The barricades that had been pushed off the pavement, signs turned from view or covered, or shrouded in duct tape or black plastic sheeting, are back.
Peters Canyon Bike Trail between Walnut and where it intersects the San Diego Creek Trail by the hockey rinks is closed. Really. No kidding around this time. And this is good news for everyone who uses it.
This section of the trail was abruptly shut down in July as part of a wider project — designed to mitigate the effects of naturally-occurring Selenium in rain runoff — that also affected the trail all the way to Walnut. The posted signage indicated the trail would be out of commission from July 15 until August 16, which was at first accepted as a short-term inconvenience. By late July there was excavation on the Walnut end. But July came and went with nothing happening on the other end, and by mid-August questions were asked as to when work on that section was actually going to commence.
The questions generated two answers. The first was that the signs had been misinterpreted—July 2015 until August 2016 was the correct time frame. And then company managing the project admitted that construction wasn’t actually going to start on the Barranca to Warner section until January.
A combination of negative public reaction and governmental pressure resulted in the trail reopening from Warner to San Diego Creek in mid-August. A more detailed work schedule was announced at the time, noting that the closure was expected to start in January and stay in effect into late spring.
Last week the signs, sandbags and barricades were back. There are tractors and piping staged all along the path. But now the closure is expected to be shorter, from October 26 through November 25.
This is a welcome surprise for users, but it also news to several of the agencies involved with bike trails.
OC Public Works take: “…projects (whether public or private) can, at times, alter construction schedules to reduce the length of a closure which then lessens the impact to existing trails and bikeways, often with little negative impact on the work.
And the City of Irvine’s Mike Davis noted, “…the City of Irvine City Engineer has been in discussions with the contractor, asking them to reduce the impact on the trails as much as possible. The original construction schedule and plan has been changed in an attempt to minimize impacts, I believe.”
According to Matthew Veeh with IRWD, the lead agency managing the job:
“The original construction schedule estimated a 4 to 5 month bike path closure (January- May) between Barranca and Warner. However, due to the contractor being ahead of schedule on their pipe replacement work, the schedule was modified to close the bike path for one month now and then for an additional two weeks or so in the spring.
So, as long as everything continues as planned, the total path closure time should be cut by more than half, which we are hoping all users of the bike path will be happy about.”