A hiking and biking bridge over Eagle Creek near Empire Ranch Golf Course was laid in place Tuesday, linking nearly nine miles of Carson City trails.
A crane operator pulled the 59 foot bridge off a semitrailer rig’s flatbed and rotated it into place over the creek just before noon as colleagues, along with Parks and Recreation Department employees and other city personnel, watched it go in. Workers then bolted it down. Mike Bennett, Lumos & Associates engineer, and his daughter Laura, 10, became the first non-work crew pair to walk across the bridge.
Bennett’s Lumos firm donated work on the survey and design but was paid for its part in the construction. The bridge was part of the work that stemmed from a Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act grant for $265,000, said Ann Bollinger of Parks and Recreation, with the actual bridge requiring $125,000 of that. Bollinger, city Open Space manager, said not all the grant money was used, but some also went for signs or other related needs.
Bollinger and Roger Moellendorf, Parks and Recreation Department director, said the bridge is the final and key link in trails starting on the east side at the Morgan Mill Road river access area to connect with the Mexican Ditch area and Silver Saddle Ranch linear park trails. Bollinger said if mountain bikers or serious hikers want, they can even traverse the city’s west side and head toward Lake Tahoe.
“This little bridge,” said Moellendorf, “makes a network of it.” He said formerly the trails had been a disparate group that needed the link. Until now, some hikers had used wooden boards at narrow points to span the creek.
“If you take the whole system that links up,” the city’s parks director added, “we’ve got close to nine miles.”
Moellendorf and Bollinger also said the land on the side of the bridge over which it was trucked in prior to placement was a 39 acre tract provided by city government’s Open Space program by the Vidler Water Co.