South Tahoe Greenway trail project delayed | TahoeDailyTribune.com

South Tahoe Greenway trail project delayed

The first phase of the South Tahoe Greenway Shared Use Trail was completed in 2015, linking Herbert Avenue and Glenwood Way.

Construction of a trail system that will ultimately create a continuous 4-mile pathway between the Sierra Tract and Stateline has hit a few speed bumps.

The South Tahoe Greenway Shared Use Trail project, spearheaded by the California Tahoe Conservancy (CTC), kicked off in September 2015 with the construction of a 0.42-mile section linking Herbert Avenue and Glenwood Way in the Bijou neighborhood.

The next two phases will cross Trout Creek and Bijou Meadow to connect the Sierra Tract and Bijou neighborhoods to Lake Tahoe Community College, the Bijou Park, South Tahoe Middle School and other recreational and community resources.

Construction of this part of the project was scheduled to begin in 2019, however, concerns from LTCC over the details of a land swap in exchange for $700,000 in funding have delayed the project.

“We’ve also been working with a new partner in this, Caltrans. It’s taken us longer to understand each other’s requirements. That has resulted in a year delay to the project, which has also increased the project cost due to inflation.”-Chris Mertens,Associate environmental planner

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The land exchange was a four-way trade of parcels between CTC, the city of South Lake Tahoe and LTCC — a move that allowed the college to contribute funds for the Greenway project.

"What we've encountered over the last year or so is that the college has some concerns with a couple of easements that are on the parcels that would be exchanged to the college," Chris Mertens, associate environmental planner at the Conservancy, told his board on Dec. 7. "We have been spending the last six months or longer working with the college to figure out some solutions to that."

The college is concerned that the easements could prevent them from developing the land. Mertens said there is now some uncertainty as to whether the college will move forward with the exchange, and ultimately the funding.

The college's board of trustees is meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 12, to decide how LTCC will proceed.

The remaining $3.6 million for this segment of the project — $1.3 million of which is contributed by CTC itself — is secured.

However, said Mertens, the cost of project implementation has since risen due to construction demand from recent natural disasters.

"We've also been working with a new partner in this, Caltrans. It's taken us longer to understand each other's requirements," said Mertens. "That has resulted in a year delay to the project, which has also increased the project cost due to inflation."

Construction of the next phase of the project has been bumped from 2019-20 to 2020-21 as long as the funding comes through from the college or an alternative funding source is secured.

In future phases of the Greenway project, the trail system will continue northward to Stateline, ultimately connecting with Van Sickle Bi-State Park. A southern trail extension to Meyers, though not part of the current project, would complete the South Shore transportation link.