Funds run out for planning Donner bike lanes | SierraSun.com

Funds run out for planning Donner bike lanes

Greyson Howard
Sierra Sun
Emma Garrard/Sierra Sun file photoA cyclist rides past a sign this summer on Donner Pass Road indicating the end of the bike lane. Engineers hired to plan an extension of the bike lanes has depleted the funds Truckee authorized for planning.
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The Town of Truckee will need to approve another $2 million to build bicycle lanes along Donner Lake, members of the town council learned last week.

At the same time, the Truckee Town Council has been asked to approve more money to complete the bicycle plans after the design firm spent all the planning funds previously budgeted.

A heated debate broke out at Thursday’s council meeting over the design contract for bike lanes on Donner Pass Road.

Originally planned for construction last summer, two 4-foot lanes and a number of drainage improvements would create better bicycle access to Donner Lake as well as manage storm runoff along the North Shore.

Challenges from water-quality standards, road widening on the hillside, parking and private stairways in the public right-of-way have delayed construction until next summer, causing design firm Bickett Engineering to deplete the $384,458 the town budgeted for the plans, said the firm’s Andy Alvarado.

The new cost estimate of $5.5 million is a significant increase over the project’s previously approved funding of $3.7 million, according to staff reports. The new estimate includes another $194,064 for Bickett Engineering.

But when town staff and Bickett Engineering came before town council, some council members were angered, saying the firm didn’t live up to its end of the contract.

“I feel extorted and I feel used,” said Council Member Josh Susman of the contract amendment.

Despite the bump in cost, Public Works Developer Dan Wilkins said he felt the amendment would still be the most efficient way to complete the bike lanes.

Dan Warren, general manager of the Glenshire Devonshire Residents Association and a cycling advocate, also urged the council to move forward despite the increase, because of the importance of safe bicycle access to Donner Lake.

In the end, the council agreed to delay its decision and explore the town’s options. No date has been set for the item to return.