Construction of a long-discussed erosion-control project will continue around Bijou Meadow and along Fairway Drive for several more weeks before moving into the Bijou Center early next month.
The approximately $18.6-million Bijou Area Erosion Control Project has been in development for about the past 10 years and is designed to improve the quality of water entering Lake Tahoe from one of the lake’s dirtiest drain pipes, project manager Trevor Coolidge said.
“The overall goal is water quality,” Coolidge said of the construction, which is expected to last through the 2014 construction season.
“The project has two primary elements; replacement of the existing Bijou Creek storm drain system that conveys storm water runoff from the 1,300-acre Bijou Creek watershed to Lake Tahoe and construction of a comprehensive regional treatment system for runoff generated in the Bijou commercial core,” according to a statement from the city.
Polluted storm water from the Bijou center will be directed through a series of underground vaults to remove clarity-reducing fine sediment before being pumped through an underground pipe to water quality treatment basins near the intersection of Woodland and Walkup roads, according to the statement.
Some of the most visible work on the project is taking place at the southern end of Bijou Meadow. The construction activity there includes creation of a series of grassy swales designed to serve as an emergency overflow for the treatment basins, Coolidge said.
Although there will be some temporary closures of trails while heavy equipment work takes place in the meadow, recreational impacts in the meadow — popular with dog walkers and bicyclists — will be minimal, Coolidge said.
Work in the meadow is expected to wrap up within the next three weeks, Coolidge said. Fairway Drive at Lake Tahoe Boulevard will likely stay closed for another four to five weeks while intensive construction continues there, Coolidge said. Work in the Bijou Center is scheduled to take place after Labor Day.
A run-down outfall on the beach behind CVS will be improved as part of the project and will be designed to blend in with the surrounding sand, Coolidge said.
The project includes numerous funders, with the U.S. Forest and Caltrans among the major contributors, Coolidge said. The California Tahoe Conservancy is involved in the Bijou project as a funder and property owner. The agency is also working on a separate bike path project in the area, Coolidge said.
Additional phases of the Bijou Area Erosion Control project, which includes work in neighborhoods surrounding the meadow, are currently without funding, according to the engineer.