Truckee Donner PUD to start pipeline project which will close Trout Creek Trail

Staff Report
The pipeline project map.

TRUCKEE, Calif. — The Truckee Donner Public Utility District next month will break ground on its largest project in about 15 years but the construction will result in a popular trail closing.

The district in September will break ground on the Pioneer Trail Pipeline Project. This water project is critical to the health of the community’s water service and will strengthen the reliability of TDPUD’s water delivery system, said a news release. 

TDPUD has not taken on a water project of this size and scope since 2008. The project will have significant impacts on the use of the Trout Creek Trail, including trail closures in fall 2022 and spring/summer 2023. The project will begin on Sept. 6 and is expected to conclude in fall 2023.

The Pioneer Trail Pipeline Project involves the construction of a new water pipeline and a new pump station to serve the Tahoe Donner subdivision. The new pipeline will connect existing water piping on Northwoods Boulevard to a new pump station located to the southwest of the intersection of Pioneer Trail and Comstock Drive. This area is currently served by a single water pipeline along Northwoods Boulevard. 

The existing pipeline and the accompanying pump stations were constructed in the early 1970s and are approaching the end of their useful life. Construction of the new pipeline will provide redundancy within TDPUD’s water distribution system and will give the district the ability to rehabilitate the existing facilities. 

This project also improves TDPUD’s capacity and resiliency in providing potable water and fire flow into Tahoe Donner. Four fire hydrants will also be added to the Trout Creek Trail area. TDPUD will also be installing $1 million of new primary power and communications conduits in a joint trench along with the water pipeline for future network build-out.

“The Pioneer Trail Pipeline Project is a crucial and necessary investment in our water utility and an important step towards strengthening our water infrastructure and increasing our system’s redundancy,” said Chad Reed, TDPUD water utility director. “Only having one pipeline serving the Tahoe Donner community restricts our ability to take the pipeline offline for maintenance work. We will be able to better serve our community by accomplishing these major updates.”

The Trout Creek Trail closure will begin Tuesday, Sept. 6, and is expected to last about two months. The trail will be closed at the bridge over Trout Creek for the entirety of this period, and as needed at select sections to the east of Trout Creek for tree removal work. The trail will be reopened to the public for winter 2022-23. This closure will allow for the installation of the new water pipeline and conduits on the existing bridge across Trout Creek. In order to minimize any potential environmental impact, this work must be performed in the fall during the low flow period of the creek.

In late April 2023, the trail will close again, with an anticipated reopening by July 4, 2023. This timing will be dependent on snow coverage. The trail will be closed to all access from Northwoods Boulevard to about a half mile east of the bridge. The project will be completed in fall 2023.

As part of the project, TDPUD plans to repave the full width of the trail in areas that are disturbed by construction. Final determination of paving needs will be made after the installation of the pipe and conduit is complete.

“We understand that this trail closure will affect many members of our community who use it for recreation and travel,” said Brian Wright, TDPUD general manager.” Our goal with any project is to minimize the impact on the community as much as possible, so it speaks to the importance of this project that we would take on something with this level of public impact. We hope that the community can see the value in this project and understand why the trail needs to undergo these closures.”

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