New bridges provide safer access to bikers, hikers and equestrians in the Rodeo Valley
May 15, 2012 (The Marin Independent Journal - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
A new 180-foot bridge open to hikers, bikers and equestrians that better serves to protect those groups from vehicle traffic is now open in the Rodeo Valley just west of Sausalito.
The new Capehart Bridge connects users to the Rodeo Valley Trail, which also will be upgraded this summer as part of a $1.5 million federally funded project.
The new span allows users to get off Bunker Road, the roadway that takes drivers from the five-minute tunnel -- the Baker-Barry Tunnel -- to Rodeo Beach.
"This is about safety on Bunker Road," said Steve Griswold, project manager for the National Park Service, noting the road is considered historic and couldn't be widened for bike lanes. "This gives them the opportunity off of Bunker Road."
Park service workers who live in housing in the area also will be able to use the bridge to get to jobs at Fort Cronkhite. People will be able to access the new bridge as they come west on Bunker Road or as they come north down McCullough Road.
The bridge was needed to traverse narrow Rodeo Creek, which has red-legged frogs and juvenile steelhead trout. The work allows the habitat to go undisturbed as bicycle wheels, horse hoofs and hiking boots use the new span.
"Because the wetland is sensitive we wanted a bridge to span the entire wetland rather than just the creek and having people walk on either side," said Caroline Christman, project coordinator and resource specialist for the Golden
Gate National Parks Conservancy.
Pearly everlasting, gum plant, sticky monkey flower and other native vegetation have also been planted along the new trail areas leading to the new bridge.
The pre-manufactured 180-foot steel and wood bridge is comprised of three, 60-foot sections. It was delivered last September by the Excel Bridge Manufacturing Co. of Los Angeles County. A second, 60-foot span -- the Smith Road Bridge -- has also been installed across the Presidio Riding Club closer to Rodeo Beach close to the Marine Mammal Center.
Trails on each side of the spans were allowed to settle in for several months and were opened to the public only in the past few weeks. But a bobcat or two did test the span, leaving calling cards of scat.
The bridges connect to the Rodeo Valley Trail, which will get improvements to the drainage and surface area beginning in August.
The Rodeo Valley Trail connects users to the Miwok and Bobcat trails which will take people to the Tennessee Valley. Eventually the system will connect to old roads that come down from higher in the Headlands near Conzelman Road, but that work is a few years off.
"This is an exciting new way to explore the Headlands," said Mia Monroe, interpretive supervisor for the Headlands. "You can now walk the upper Rodeo Valley more easily. It's part of a bigger plan to turn old park roads and military roads into park trails."
Contact Mark Prado via email at email@example.com
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Independent Journal (Novato, Calif.) at www.marinij.com Distributed by MCT
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