The River Bend Drive hike and bike improvements are part of the city of El Paso’s initiative to provide enhanced pedestrian and bicycle facilities throughout the city of El Paso. The project to create a corridor along River Bend Drive between Frontera Road and Turnstone Drive was on an accelerated schedule to meet urgent TxDOT deadlines. These enhancements will improve pedestrian connectivity to the existing neighborhoods. Among PSC’s recommendations was that TxDOT aerial photos be used to lay out the improvements to avoid delays while the ground survey was taking place. This proved to be very effective since the survey was based on state plane coordinates. Only minor adjustments were necessary once the survey was done. Having all the design services in-house at PSC, such as civil/transportation, electrical and landscaping design also helped fast-track this high profile project.

In addition to responsiveness in a tight schedule, PSC had a lot of input from the City of El Paso and had to ensure that El Paso County Water Improvement District No. 1 had approved the work adjacent to its right of way. The Upper Valley is flood-prone. As a result of its coordination with TxDOT, PSC installed a slotted curb that provides water to proposed planting beds and minimizes flooding. Swales along the path catch rainwater and make water harvesting possible.

Aesthetic elements incorporated into the project consist of street trees and accent bollard lighting. The abundance of Golden Rain, Chinese Pistache, Lacey Oak, and Lacebark Elm trees, which thrive in the Southwest environment, line both sides of the path. Within a few years, the trees will provide 100 percent shade cover on the multiuse, hike and bike path  as the trees mature and intertwine at the canopies.