The grand opening of the Arroyo Seco Pedestrian and Bicycle Trail, originally scheduled for Feb. 24 before being postponed to April 22, has been temporarily called off, in large part due to safety concerns regarding a segment of the trail that stretches along the Arroyo Seco Golf Course driving range.    

As the construction of the trail neared completion early last month, members of the City’s Parks and Recreation Department noticed that golf balls mishit over the net were a risk to walkers and riders using the trail. A subsequent golf ball trajectory test confirmed their fears.

At Wednesday’s City Council meeting, Community Services Director Sheila Pautsch and Acting Director of Public Works, Rafael Casillas, were expected to ask the Council to authorize project betterment change orders that include the building of a protective trellis over the trail. The change orders are projected to amount to $847,912, the remaining balance of the project fund. They are not to exceed that amount, so as to keep the total spending for the project at or under the  initially set aside $2,472,121.

Money for the project came from more than ten sources, including $500,000 from Proposition C, $410,000 from the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and $347,000 from South Pasadena’s General Fund.

The preliminary estimated cost of the trellis is $581,534, which according to corresponding staff reports will minimize the City’s “future liability from future golf ball-related claims.” In addition to funding the protective covering, the $847,912 will be used to finish parking lot resurfacing and construction efforts. Specifically, these include the removal and replacement of the deteriorated pavement along with a slurry seal on the Arroyo Seco Golf Course Club House (Club House) parking lot, pavement patching and a slurry seal on Lohman Lane, and costs associated with unforeseen field conditions and final materials quantity adjustments.

While the trellis will protect pedestrians and bicyclists, the issue of golf balls flying over the net remains unresolved.

According to golf course staff, the driving range fence, which has been the same height since it was built by the Lohman family in the 1950s, has never shielded the river from errant swings. Workers routinely collect balls that gather in the river and its concrete basin.

When the trail project began, the fence was brought 20 feet in from the Arroyo Seco River to make room for the path to connect to the City’s Nature Park. The construction of that new net cost approximately $153,000. The cost of raising the fence to make it a more effective barrier of golf balls, according to the City, would be millions of dollars.

Sully-Miller Contracting Company will continue as the contractor on the project.

Harry Yadav

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