By Karen Billing
The reopening of the popular Highway 56 bike path will be delayed by more than a month. The trail between Carmel Valley Road and Carmel Country Road has been closed since September and city representatives now say it won’t be open until March 31.
The closure is due to work on the Carmel Valley Recycled Water Pipeline project, which will increase the supply of recycled water to the northern section of the city.
The 12,000 feet of pipeline will provide about 300 acre feet a year of recycled water to the Palacio Del Mar community, the Meadows Del Mar Golf Course and to future customers in the western portion of Carmel Valley.
“The contractor has made significant progress in completing the installation of the pipeline along the bike path,” said David Manela, city project manager. “According to our last meeting with the contractor, he stated he will be starting their final resurfacing operations along the bike path in a few weeks and will continue until March 31.”
The closure has been confusing for users because the timeline has frequently changed. Signs posted read it would reopen May 15, then Jan. 15, then the city said Feb. 15, then March 15 and now March 31.
“I’m disappointed that it’s delayed,” said Stephan Bar, a Carmel Valley rider. “This will make it a five-month closure, it seems like a long time. As a cyclist it’s always a plus to cycle without worrying about car traffic.”
Bar said that he has ridden less since the closure as he finds the detour inconvenient.
“It has a lot of left turns and crosses the freeway twice,” Bar said.
The detour includes sidewalks on Carmel Country Road, Del Mar Heights Road and Carmel Valley Road. Eastbound, riders take Carmel Country north, Carmel Canyon north, Del Mar Heights east, and Carmel Valley Road south. Westbound it is the opposite.
Perhaps the only good news for users affected by the closure is that when it opens, the new path will be much smoother, without the humps that have been caused by tree roots over the years.