Drivers on U.S. Highway 101 can expect lane closures during the evening, night and early morning hours this week as the California Department of Transportation continues its work to replace the San Francisquito Bridge between Palo Alto and East Palo Alto.
The three-year project kicked off this spring and will largely be implemented between June and October of each year because of seasonal restrictions on work near the San Francisquito Creek. The $18 million effort is expected to be completed in December 2017.
The project would demolish the existing bridges over the volatile creek and replace them with larger structures that would offer more protection to the flood-prone downstream neighborhoods in Palo Alto and East Palo Alto. The existing bridge spanning 101 was initially constructed in 1931 and then widened in 1957 to include roads east and west of the highway. According to Caltrans, the bridge has "deteriorated due to wear and tidal action." Structural inspections dating back to 2001 have recommended replacement of the bridge.
But while the project promises to solve one problem, it will inevitably contribute to another. The already congested stretch of 101 around University Avenue promises to get even more crowded thanks to lane closures, offramp closures and new striping configurations.
This week, the two left lanes (known in Caltrans parlance as Lanes 1 and 2) on southbound 101 will be closed between University Avenue and Embarcadero Road between 9 p.m. Tuesday and 5 a.m. Wednesday. A similar closure will occur Thursday night. Alternate lanes on the same stretch of southbound 101 will also be closed from 10 p.m. Friday to 9 a.m. Saturday.
Caltrans also plans to close the University offramp from southbound 101 between 10 p.m. Friday night 7 a.m. Saturday. The Embarcadero off-ramp from southbound of 101 would be closed from 9 p.m. Friday to 8 a.m. Saturday. Detours will be in place for both closures, according to Caltrans.
According to Caltrans, the closures will allow crews to pave and add striping in the median. Southbound 101 will have a new striping configuration, by which traffic would be moved closer to the median barrier.