Some 80 years ago, Clovis pictured itself as the “Gateway to the Sierras.” Today that vision lives on with the initiation of design work for the State Route 168/Enterprise trail bridge.
With the adoption of the 1993 General Plan, a concept for a pedestrian/bicycle trail system was born. Clovis began to develop a comprehensive trail system connecting neighborhoods to parks, schools, and employment centers. Today, 27 miles of trails have been developed not only connecting areas within Clovis, but into the greater metropolitan area.
Construction of the 168 Freeway in 2000, however, complicated trail development along the Enterprise Canal. This trail is intended to connect the Loma Vista community to the Research and Technology park area, and on to the greater trail system. The freeway created a barrier, requiring future trail users to utilize the Temperance Avenue undercrossing –– a very busy thoroughfare.
Then the idea happened: what if we were to construct a pedestrian bridge across Freeway 168? And, what if that bridge were to become an architectural gateway to and from the Sierras? Staff began looking at examples of architectural pedestrian bridges and found models in places like Cupertino, Calif. and Eugene, Ore. These bridges are of a design called “Cable Stay” structures that are a unique suspension design and can be built incrementally without requiring massive form works.
In 2017, the City received a Federal Congestion Management and Air Quality grant to fund design work on the bridge and has recently conducted interviews and selected a design consultant, Biggs Cardosa Associates. This two-year design process will involve community input and will evaluate several different bridge types and alignments. The public is being encouraged to participate, and more information on the process and community meetings will soon be posted on the City of Clovis website.
While the bridge design is being developed, staff will begin searching for funding sources for construction in the form of local, state and federal grants. The focus of this work is to have a bridge under development by 2025.
In the meantime, Clovis will continue to develop trail sections such as the roughly two mile “Sierra Gateway” trail segment currently being constructed along Freeway 168 between Shepherd and Owen’s Mountain Parkway. Ultimately, it is envisioned that Clovis and Fresno will have connecting looped trails providing for recreation and commuting.
The beauty of Clovis is that the vision of the community is both anchored to an important past yet open to an exciting future. The idea of being the “Gateway to the Sierras” is still pertinent and in the near future will be reinforced with a “Gateway” bridge.