A Mitigated Negative Declaration and Monitoring Plan for two segments of the El Dorado Trail was unanimously approved at the March 26 Placerville City Council meeting, opening the door for the design phase of the projects.
The El Dorado Trail currently extends from the western El Dorado County line to the Camino area east of Placerville. The two segments, a 4,000-foot-long section from Ray Lawyer Drive to Main Street and an 8oo-foot-long section from Clay Street to Bedford Avenue in Placerville will close gaps in the trail as it passes through downtown Placerville.
The Mitigated Negative Declaration includes an initial study to determine if construction of the two segments will have an adverse environmental impact and the mitigation measures designed to off-set any such impact.
Nine mitigation measures were identified in the document:
• Controlling equipment exhaust emissions
• Controlling dust during construction
• Minimizing environmental effects on aquatic amphibians and reptiles
• Identification and protection of environmentally sensitive areas prior to construction
• Providing appropriate sight-lines for trail user safety
• Minimize the accidental introduction of non-native species during construction
• Identifying a course of action should cultural resources be uncovered
• Identifying a course of action should human remains be uncovered.
Community Development and Engineering Director Mike Webb said the document had been publicly reviewed Feb. 4 through March 6 and two letters with comments had been received. One from the Water Control Board listed permits that may be needed during construction and the other asked for protection of the redwood tree at the intersection of the Clay Street Bridge and the trail, thinning of brush and trees along the Ray Lawyer Drive section to improve sight lines and drainage issues.
“These were not new issues as we also brought the document before the Placerville Recreation and Parks Department,” said Webb. “The issues don’t change the content.”
Councilwoman Carol Patton asked that a long-range plan for parking for both segments be part of the design. “There’s already a serious parking problem for the trail section from the jail going west,” she said.
Webb said there was no current plan for parking, but agreed that the design phase was the ideal time to look at the parking issue. Part of the design will include signage to identify the El Dorado Trail, benches, pet stations and, along the Clay Street section, a bike repair station is being considered. The width of the paved trail segments may be 8 or 10 feet, with either a 2 or 4-foot decomposed granite shoulder.
The cost of the environmental study and all Negative Mitigation documents was $18,000. The design cost of the Clay Street to Bedford section is $45,000, with the cost of construction anticipated at $95,000. Design cost of the Ray Lawyer Drive section is $50,000, with the cost of construction estimated at $250,000. Both the environmental study and the design is being paid for with federal Transportation Enhancement funds.
The design phase for both trail segments is anticipated to be completed in August, 2013. Construction is planned for the spring and summer of 2014. The city is working with the El Dorado County Transportation Commission to secure funding for construction. “This environmental document was critical to the construction, so we are confident we’ll be able to get there,” said Webb.
The completion of the two segments of trail will leave a gap in the trail between the segments through downtown Placerville. “That is the subject of a future project,” said Webb. “We’d like to tie it to the development of the Bell Park on Bedford, but for now, cyclists will have to get off their bikes and walk through downtown.”
Contact Wendy Schultz at 530 344-5069 or [email protected] Follow @wschultzMtDemo on Twitter.