Executive Director's Column
Our Big Year
By Dick Bobertz, Executive Director
San Dieguito River Park Joint Powers Authority
2007 will be the busiest year the River Park has ever experienced. This year construction has begun on three major projects that will dramatically advance the River Park toward its visionary goals. (Click here for construction updates.)
The San Dieguito Lagoon Restoration, possibly the largest single project the River Park will ever undertake, has begun after more than seventeen years of planning and permitting. The project, currently estimated at more than $86 million dollars, is a partnership between the River Park and Southern California Edison, and is under way on both sides of I-5 on over 450 acres. A 50-acre addition to permanent lagoon is currently being excavated on the west of I-5 where the former airstrip once operated. Included in the project is over two miles of the Coast to Crest Trail. 1,200 feet of boardwalk begins that segment of trail starting on the north side of the river at Jimmy Durante Boulevard. The support structure for that section of trail has been completed by Marathon Construction and the decking will be applied by the Del Mar Rotary in April.
On the east side of I-5 you can see a massive rock-crushing operation. The rock has been imported to the site from nearby freeway interchange work and is necessary for construction of berms that will control the river channel. Also on the east side of I-5, you will soon see the “Strawberry Stand” Wetland Learning Center structure moved to the west side of the site to make way for power line relocation from the center of the valley to Via De La Valle. When the project is completed, the structure will be returned or replaced with a permanent facility if funding is obtained. The project will be ongoing over the next three years. Click here for construction information.
The 2-mile-long Del Dios Gorge Trail project will link the 3-mile-long section of the Coast to Crest Trail constructed by The Crosby Estate last year, known as the Santa Fe Valley Trail, with the 17-mile-long Lake Hodges/Mule Hill/San Pasqual Valley Trail that begins at the Lake Hodges Dam. The Del Dios Gorge Trail segment combined with the Santa Fe Valley Trail will complete over 22 miles of continuous Coast to Crest Trail extending from Artesian Road on the west to the intersection of Highway 78 and Bandy Canyon Road to the east. Work on the trail by River Park Rangers and volunteers began last month and a contractor, R. J. Bullard Construction, will install a 182-foot bridge over the San Dieguito River in April. Additional grant funding for extensive retaining walls necessary to construct the trail along the hillside west of the dam is being sought to complete this $2 million section of trail.
The Lake Hodges Bicycle/Pedestrian Bridge construction began in February, after more than nine years of planning, design, permitting and fund-raising. The stress-ribbon construction technology will produce a strikingly graceful 1000-foot long bridge suspended over Lake Hodges on only two piers. Construction of the more than $9-million project began with installation of the south abutment which consists of four 9-foot diameter concrete piers extending over 80-feet into the ground necessary to anchor the structure. That portion of the project will be completed in May. The rest of the structure will be completed over the next two years during the September to May time periods to avoid the nesting seasons of endangered bird species known to exist around Lake Hodges.
These are the three biggest projects the River Park is accomplishing this year. But there are many more ongoing projects and events being accomplished in cooperation with the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy. More details and photos of the progress of all River Park projects will be available on the River Park website, www.sdrp.org.
As we fill our schedules with the details of these ongoing and new projects and all that remains to be done to make the San Dieguito River Park a reality, it is important to keep in mind what has been accomplished. Toward that end, staff has done some records searching and compiled a yearly list of accomplishments for each year beginning with 1989 when the JPA was established. The combined forces of all River Park supporters have produced an impressive track record of accomplishments through the years. It helps to review the past occasionally to inspire confidence in the future.
Click here for photos and construction updates of various park projects.
Click here to see a list of River Park accomplishments by year.
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