Local nonprofit Tri-Valley Conservancy hosted a groundbreaking ceremony last week to mark the start of construction on a new bridge at Sycamore Grove Park that will permanently connect a 44-mile trail through five parks from Livermore to Fremont.
Dubbed "Valley Trail Connections," the project has taken several years for the nonprofit to coordinate with multiple public agencies and private supporters, including the 2014 purchase and preservation of the 74 acres of land where the trail will connect.
Completion of the new bridge in the months ahead will provide permanent access to that part of the park, plus serve as the missing link in the regional trail connectivity, according to Laura Mercier, executive director of Tri-Valley Conservancy.
"Thanks to our partners and donors, we're finally at the last step of the Valley Trail Connections project which will link 25,000 acres of open space, help improve creek habitat and allow year-round access for park visitors to these amazing preserved lands," Mercier said in a statement.
The bridge will be built on the Arroyo del Valle Trail near the Arroyo Road entrance to Sycamore Grove. The trail system will be linked with Del Valle Regional Park, Ohlone Regional Wilderness, Sunol Regional Wilderness and Mission Peak Regional Preserve. The route will be a part of the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail, which is one of 30 national trails in the country that stretches 1,200 miles from Mexico to San Francisco.
With work getting underway, the Arroyo Road entrance to Sycamore Grove Park has been closed since July 15 to make way for the bridge construction.
Once the bridge is completed, it will be open year-round for park visitors with horses, bicycles, strollers and wheelchairs. The previous footbridge was not accessible to all users and the area was plagued by flooding issues during the wet months.
The groundbreaking event on July 22 also featured representatives of Alameda County, city of Livermore, East Bay Regional Park District, and Livermore Area Recreation and Park District using golden shovels to turn dirt marking the ceremonial start of the project.
Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty announced that the bridge will be officially named after his predecessor, late former county supervisor Edward R. Campbell, who helped spearhead the South Livermore Valley Plan, which protects the natural and agricultural land in south Livermore.
In addition to the public agencies spotlighted on July 22, other key contributors to the "Campbell Bridge" project included Alameda County Transportation Commission, Bay Area Barns and Trails, California State Coastal Conservancy, Chevron, Dean Witter Foundation, Friends of Open Space and Vineyards, Sierra Club, Teichert, The Joseph & Vera Long Foundation and Zone 7 Water Agency.