Revamped creek-bridge planned for Highway 101

June 15 meeting will display maps of a longer, wider proposed bridge to improve flood water flows from San Francisquito Creek

A proposed replacement bridge over San Francisquito Creek and U.S. Highway 101 between University Avenue and Embarcadero Road will be discussed at a community meeting on Wednesday (June 15).

The bridge replacement would tear down the existing structure and replace it with a new bridge designed to increase water flow from the creek.

The new bridge would increase 46 feet in length, from 80 feet to 126 feet and would be widened 12 feet, from 232 feet to 244 feet, according to a Caltrans bridge-replacement report. The structure would not take any property and would not increase traffic, according to Caltrans.

Portions of West Bayshore and East Bayshore roads would also be rebuilt and widened and a sound wall along West Bayshore would be moved to accommodate the wider road, according to the report.

The bridge was originally to be widened to better accommodate the additional lanes for the Auxiliary Lanes project, designed to improve traffic flow along the 101 corridor. But engineers determined the existing bridge is deteriorated and should be replaced, according to Caltrans.

The original freeway portion of the bridge was built in 1931. The freeway was widened in 1957, when East Bayshore and West Bayshore roads were also added.

Recent inspections found significant structural deterioration, including large vertical and horizontal cracks, according to the report.

The replacement is expected to improve the bridge's capacity to handle creek waters by 20 percent, according to a preliminary hydraulic report, and would improve the movement of water in a 100-year flood.

The project would not result in significant or adverse impacts of the existing 100-year floodplain, the bridge-replacement report noted, however. Portions of 101 would still be inundated during an extreme flood event.

Wednesday's meeting will be held at the East Palo Alto City Hall Community Room, 2415 University Ave., East Palo Alto, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Maps of the project will be available for viewing.

The Initial Study with Proposed Negative Declaration/Environmental Assessment can be viewed at Initial Study.

The documents are also available at Palo Alto Main Library, 213 Newell Road, Palo Alto, and East Palo Alto Public Library, 2415 University Ave., East Palo Alto.

Maps and additional project studies are available at Caltrans District 4 Office, 111 Grand Ave., Oakland, on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Related material:

View a 2010 map of the proposed plans to prevent San Francisquito Creek flooding

Fixes eyed for flood-prone bridges along creek

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Like this comment
Posted by safety first
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 13, 2011 at 7:38 pm

I hope the new bridge is safer for pedestrians and bicyclists than the old one. I really pity the children who live on one side of the highway and have to attend school on the other side.

Like this comment
Posted by AD
a resident of University South
on Jun 13, 2011 at 8:55 pm

Based on the Initial Study link, the bridge being replaced is the one that carries 101 over the creek (just north of the Embarcadero Rd exit). It doesn't appear that the University Ave. bridge is involved at all.

Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 13, 2011 at 9:38 pm

Yup, those dimensions compute given the Google Maps aerial photo of 101 over the creek. Bridge does look pretty ratty. Impressive that the central portion has lasted 80 years.

Like this comment
Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 15, 2011 at 11:05 am

When I first moved to Palo Alto in 1969 this overpass used to work. Every time they improve it it seems to get a bit more confusing and slower.

Like this comment
Posted by Richard
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 15, 2011 at 12:26 pm

I was on the bicycle advisory commitee for Palo Alto when East Palo Alto proposed the new overpass. Both Palo Alto and Menlo Park strongly advocated for including safe pedestrian and bicycle access in the project but East Palo Alto ignored that advice. If that project was being built today they would not be able to build it with public funds without safely accomodating bicyclists and pedestrians.

Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 15, 2011 at 8:19 pm

As AD pointed out, the University Avenue overpass is not the subject of this article or construction project. This creek bridge is a mile south of the University Avenue overpass and goes largely unnoticed by those driving across it, until it caves in.

Like this comment
Posted by ?
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 15, 2011 at 9:45 pm

Where is this bridge exactly? I don't know what is being discussed.

Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 15, 2011 at 10:14 pm

? - the location is in the photo included w/the article. If you click on the photo, you will see it.

If you drive south on West Bayshore, from Univ or Newell towards Embarc, it'll be the section that goes over the creek - it's not much at all, actually, but of course it's important. Ignore RIchard's & Anon's comments - not because they aren't good comments, but they are referring to the actual highway overpass, which is not what's to be revamped.

The landmark is the apt/condo complex on your right, as it sits on the bank of the creek, parallel to W. Bayshore, then it juts to the left/east, & goes under 101. It's the portion of road on W. Bayshore that goes over the creek; called a bridge, but it doesn't feel like you're driving over a bridge. Hope this makes sense!

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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