By Allison Jarrell

Residents and visitors who utilize the San Juan Creek Trail to trek to Doheny State Beach or travel inland to San Juan Capistrano will soon have to use detours due to trail closures from the San Juan Creek Levee Improvement Project.

The infrastructure project includes improvements to the levees along a 1-mile stretch of the San Juan Creek flood control channel. Led by the County of Orange, the $33 million project aims to enhance flood protection. The project area spans San Juan and Dana Point, “running along San Juan Creek from Stonehill Drive to approximately 2,100 feet upstream on the west side of the levee and 6,000 feet upstream on the east side of the levee,” according to San Juan city staff.

The project involves “installation of sheet piles with steel anchor columns and tension cables, construction of a reinforced concrete pile cap, construction of reinforced masonry block flood walls, installation of modified guard cable fencing” and “reconstruction of the asphalt bike trail along the west side of the channel.”

“The contractor has begun their site preparation work and installation of the staging facility on Lower Rosan,” officials with the city of San Juan Capistrano said on Oct. 12.

County officials said they anticipate construction for the levee project will begin next week if all goes as planned. Currently, pre-construction preparations are underway, such as posting public information signs and trimming trees.

“The bike trail along the west levee will be closed for most of the construction, and detour signs will reroute bicyclists and pedestrians off the trail in work areas,” city officials said.

The construction is set to conclude in 2019—lasting about 18 months—with work hours of 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday. County officials said in order to “maximize safety and accelerate work,” the San Juan Creek Trail will be closed on both sides beginning through June 2018.

During that time, pedestrians can use the adjacent Creekside Park walkway. Bicyclists will be directed to follow a detour from Stonehill Drive to Del Obispo Street to Mariner Drive.

County officials added that construction of an underpass north of Stonehill Drive will take place toward the beginning of the project, so that ideally, public access for that stretch will only be closed for a few weeks.

“We’re making every effort to keep that open so people can use that as an access point to get back on the paved bikeway,” said Shannon Widor, strategic communications officer for the county.

WHAT’S NEXT: For more information on the levee improvement project, or to view bike path detour maps, visit www.ocflood.com or www.sanjuancapistrano.org/Departments/Public-Works/Temporary-Bike-Path-Detours

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