Truckee Bridges Two Streets and Restores Trout Creek
Smackdab in the middle of Truckee, California, is an attractive piece of real estate housing an aging railyard that has sat mostly empty since the 1990s. After decades of discussion and debate about what to do with the land, the Truckee Railyard Master Plan is finally coming to fruition.
Sitting on 75 acres the Truckee Railyard project will provide the area with affordable multifamily residential units, retail locations, office space, recreational opportunities, and entertainment options. The new development will extend downtown while capturing Truckee’s historic character, providing a picture of the past and present.
Two crucial tasks need to be completed for the town’s decades-long vision to steam forward like the trains that used to frequently occupy the railyard. Before anything could be built up, Truckee needed to connect two streets and restore a creek to satisfy the flow of traffic and fish within the community.
“It’s two phases,” says Scott Mathot, PE, Senior Engineer for the Town of Truckee. “An intersection improvement project for Glenshire Drive and the Church Street extension, as well as a restoration project for Trout Creek.”
Enter Jensen Precast and Q&D Construction, two longtime collaborators in nearby Reno, Nevada, with a lot of experience and a keen eye for perfection. From the beginning it was evident an arch culvert bridge would be the perfect piece of precast concrete to get the project done efficiently and economically. Arch culvert checked every box the customer needed.
“We typically go with arch culvert from a long-term maintenance perspective as opposed to a single span bridge,” says Mathot, who served as manager of the project for the town. “Vehicular bridges, whether they’re single span or if you have to place a pier mid-floodplain, can get difficult from a cost and permitting perspective.”
Over four days in high heat Q&D Construction installed 14 arch culvert pieces at 32’W x 6’L x 10’H each across an 82’ span with head walls and wing walls on each end of the culvert. Each piece of culvert was manufactured at Jensen Precast’s Lockeford, California, facility and hauled into the Sierra Nevada mountains on three consecutive days to meet the customer’s deadlines.
The arch culvert structure was designed by Pretek Group, a leading designer and developer of precast concrete elements and systems used in transportation infrastructure projects. Pretek specializes in buried bridges and culvert.
“I came out to oversee it from the manufacturer’s standpoint to make sure this job went smooth,” says Spencer Jones, Plant Manager of Jensen Precast Lockeford. “Q&D is a great customer of ours in the Reno market, so we wanted to make sure we gave them some extra attention up the road in Truckee and make sure they understand we’re here to partner with them and make everything go as smooth as possible.”
In addition to aiding the restoration of the creek, the new arch culvert bridge will play a key role in realigning the creek.
“In its current location the creek is underneath a proposed roundabout,” Mathot says. “What the culvert does is realign the creek slightly to the south, establishing a new floodplain and creek bed that’s designed for the flows of Trout Creek.”
The new route will allow Trout Creek to flow into its tributary, the famous Truckee River, while connecting the two streets, Glenshire and Church. A win-win.
In addition to realigning the creek, the restoration will improve water quality, manage local water runoff, provide flood protection, reintroduce vegetation, and improve the recreational value of the creek.
“It will provide a fish habitat as well as a full streambed restoration with floodplain characters,” Mathot says. Once the creek is fully restored, the waterway’s namesake trout will flow freely between Trout Creek and the Truckee River.
The town of Truckee planned to unleash the water to Trout Creek in September 2022, with the goal of having a fully functional creek by October 2022.
As for the overall Railyard Master Plan, it’s slated to wrap up in 2024, finally bringing a long-awaited dream to reality.