Bike Path Reopens After Long WRF Closure

Written by Neil Farrell

Neil has been a journalist covering the Estero Bay Area for over 27 years. He’s won numerous journalism awards in several different categories over his career.

May 19, 2023

The Power Plant Bike Path, shown at right of this photo, is dwarfed by the collection pipes of the City’s Water Reclamation Facility Project (at left)

With the City of Morro Bay’s new sewer system winding down construction, there’s further evidence of the town returning to normal after over two years of being under construction.

The City recently announced the reopening of the Power Plant Bike and Pedestrian Path that had been closed while the Water Reclamation Facility Project’s conveyance pipes were installed. 

That portion of the 3.5 miles of new collection system pipes, and recycled-water return piping meant the removal of numerous mature cypress trees that used to line the bike path and screen the highway that runs parallel and above the bike path. The bike path is a major route for people walking and riding bikes from North Morro Bay into the Downtown and Quintana Road areas, and for kids walking/riding to and from Morro Bay High School.

The City said the vegetation is being replaced and public input will be taken as to where replacement trees should be planted.

Underground sewer pipes for the City’s WRF Project daylight at Morro Creek and cross in a steel bridge.

“Following ongoing construction of the WRF injection wells near the bike path,” a news release from the City said, “native hydro-seed mix will be applied to all areas disturbed during construction. The seed mix will include grasses, wildflowers, and shrubs that are native to the area.”

The bike path, which hadn’t had much work done to it since being installed in the 1990s, was reconstructed and repaved as part of the WRF Project.

“Locations for future tree and shrub plantings,” the notice said, “are also being identified by the City’s Public Works Department to replace trees removed from this area and to have trees planted in suitable locations [i.e., not under power lines]. 

“The Department will also work with the Public Works Advisory Board on a replanting plan to allow for public input. The goal is to create a safe bike path and healthy urban forest for generations to come.”

The WRF Project, which started in May 2020 and just finished up late last year, involved building a new treatment plant, dubbed the “Water Resources Center,” on former ranchlands located above the terminus of South Bay Boulevard, just outside the City Limits. 

It also included some 3.5 miles of conveyance piping running underground from the old treatment plant on Atascadero Road to the new plant. 

The Power Plant bike path was scrapped of trees and 
vegetation to make way for construction of the WRF conveyance pipes. The City has hydro-seeded the bald patches with
 grasses and wildflowers.

That multiple-pipe installation included two new lift stations being built — one on Atascadero Road and the other on Main Street — plus a bypass sewer main from the Front Street parking lot on the Embarcadero (at Lift Station 2) through the power plant property to Main Street and the new lift station located next to Lemos Ranch Pet Supply Store. 

From there, the piping ran down Quintana Road and underneath the Roundabout at Quintana and Morro Bay Boulevard. 

Though most everyone would agree the project was a major pain while it was going on, now that it’s pretty much over, the end products in terms of repaved streets and repaired sidewalks among others, seem to somewhat justify the inconveniences.

“Thank you to the community,” the City news release said, “for the patience and cooperation demonstrated during the bike path closure.”

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