Bridge links wildlife trail over expressways, rough terrain
Mountain View, Calif., recently completed a $5 million project to join previously impassable portions of the Stevens Creek Trail and Wildlife Corridor. San Francisco Bay area pedestrians, joggers, bicyclers and skaters now enjoy uninterrupted access to the trail, which runs from the bay to downtown Mountain View.
Beginning in October 1997, the city constructed four pedestrian bridges and upgraded a highway underpass to lengthen the nature trail. The project was the third phase of a four-phase project that eventually will extend the trail to Mountain Views southern residential areas.
Theres a lot of interest in this trail, says Mountain View City Engineer Mike Ballard. Its not even open yet, and were having trouble keeping people out. (The trail officially opens this month.)
The largest of the bridges spans nearly 1,100 feet and crosses two major roadways and two rail lines. Built by Steadfast Bridge, Fort Payne, Ala., it is one of the longest prefabricated bridges ever installed in the United States. The other three bridges, all less than 90 feet long, span Stevens Creek and extend the trail at points where the terrain would otherwise be impassable.
The project also included the widening of an undercrossing beneath support abutments of Highway 85, a feat that required excavation and installation of 300 feet of tieback-anchored retaining walls. Native plants and electric lights also were placed along the trail. Calabasas, Calif.-based Valley Crest was the general contractor for the project. Lauderbaugh/ Hill Associates, Sunnyvale, Calif., was the landscape architect, and Mark Thomas & Co., was the civil engineer.