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City: River path repairs to be completed mid-Sept.

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Bigger river plan underway

City of Reno officials this week said that recently started repair work on the Truckee River bike path should be completed mid-September. Repairs to the asphalt are being made between the Lake Street bridge and Fisherman’s Park at the Sparks border.

The river path has been in an increasing state of disrepair. City officials said the entire section from Lake Street to Sparks will be resurfaced after parts of the path have been fixed.

Construction crews were working on the path this week. Entire asphalt sections have been removed, sections of the trail have been torn up, and public access is blocked. (The path is open on weekends during construction.) 

“The remainder of the work is to address the tree roots that are kind of bike jumps throughout the path section,” the city’s Catie Harrison said. “We worked with our urban forester to make sure we were not adversely impacting any of the mature trees. There will be a slurry seal, basically, preventative maintenance like you see slurry seal on our local roads.”

City Manager Doug Thornley previously said the path improvements had been put on hold while the city issued a request for qualifications for a broader Truckee River plan.

Staff today clarified the path improvements happening now, which were initially scheduled for June and July, are a separate maintenance project from the Truckee River plan also underway.

Erosion control

New boulders on the bank of the Truckee River. Bob Conrad / This Is Reno.
New boulders on the bank of the Truckee River. Bob Conrad / This Is Reno.

Other improvements in the works are slope stabilization. One section of the streambank near Kuenzli Street has been altered as part of a project funded with grant money. 

Large rocks and boulders have been set into the streambank to prevent erosion. The new boulders also mean access to the river in those areas is now more difficult. The city plans more erosion control projects. Varying property owners along the river are complicating how the river is being managed.

“We have different ownerships with different pieces of property,” the city’s Amy Pennington said. “Slope stabilization is obviously very important for the ongoing maintenance of such an important asset to the community, as well as it’s a safety issue. 

“When you’re dealing with the river corridor, you have federal permitting processes [and have to have] large amounts of money,” she added. “Addressing every slope differently is not a wise way to manage assets. So we need to have that looked at in a comprehensive way and have someone who does this around the country give us some best practices on how to maintain that going forward.”

A broader vision

A broader plan for the entire Truckee River is just beginning. The city recently issued a request for qualifications for a consultant to develop a more comprehensive plan.

The RFQ states that, with COVID-19 relief dollars, $3 million is allocated to develop a cohesive plan for the river between the California border and the eastern edge of Sparks.

“This study will address land use and design, micromobility and connectivity, parks and open space, and safety. In addition to working with the City of Reno staff, the consultant will work with the public and stakeholders to identify a unified vision and provide recommendations and a phased implementation plan,” the RFQ states.

Whatever that plan ultimately entails, the city’s Kerrie Koske said that projects will likely happen in stages over years. 

“We know it’s going to take a lot of money to do it right,” she said. “We’re going to have a playbook to follow to give us some implementation steps.”

Pennington said public safety is a component, and different ways to experience the river will be considered. That includes potential public-private arrangements or commercial establishments such as restaurants. 

“There’s a safety and sustainability portion to the river plan, which has to do with how we’re maintaining the space and the safety of people utilizing the space,” she said. “There will be attention put on what are the best practices to make sure that this is a safe place for people to recreate.”

Bob Conrad
Bob Conradhttp://thisisreno.com
Bob Conrad is publisher, editor and co-founder of This Is Reno. He has served in communications positions for various state agencies and earned a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2011. He is also a part time instructor at UNR and sits on the boards of the Nevada Press Association and Nevada Open Government Coalition.

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