Significant traffic delays at East Bayshore, lane shifts on Highway 101

Roadway in Palo Alto will be reduced to one lane starting April 6; Bayshore Freeway changes on April 8

UPDATE: The road realignment and closure will begin on April 6, Caltrans said on April 1.

A busy route along East Bayshore Road will be reduced to one lane with traffic control signaling as the third phase of the San Francisquito Creek Bridge Replacement Project commences on April 4, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has announced.

The construction zone, which will remain active through December, would close off a lane along a stretch of the frontage road to U.S. Highway 101 about halfway between Laura Lane in Palo Alto and Pulgas Avenue in East Palo Alto, according to Caltrans.

Two traffic signals will funnel traffic in both directions through the single southbound lane. In addition, various lane and ramp closures will also take effect on Highway 101 during night hours from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., according to Caltrans.

The traffic reconfiguration will be in effect for approximately eight months, with significant delays expected. Motorists are encouraged to seek alternative routes, Caltrans officials noted. In an updated announcement, they said that due to environmental constraints, the closure will occur again in the summer of 2017.

The closures will allow crews to replace the East Bayshore Road bridge. The work, when completed, will widen the bridge to improve San Francisquito Creek water flow during periods of heavy rain and to reduce flooding. The existing bridge will be demolished with heavy equipment, and residents and businesses might experience increased noise, Caltrans officials said.

Last year, crews worked on the West Bayshore Road bridge side. Lanes on north and southbound Highway 101 that were narrowed last year and at the exit at Embarcadero Road are not expected to reopen at this time.

In an update, Caltrans is also planning to switch southbound Highway 101 lanes to a new alignment on Friday night, April 8, beginning at 10 p.m. Drivers should be aware that by Saturday, April 9, at 6 a.m., lanes will be shifted toward the right shoulder to make room for the next stage of construction, Caltrans noted.

The latest road conditions can be found at Caltrans Quick Map: or by following Caltrans on Twitter at:

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10 people like this
Posted by Bob
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 23, 2016 at 10:43 am

"Motorists are encouraged to seek alternative routes" that's rich. They have reduced the lanes on 101 and now making E Bayshore alternating one way. This was the alternate route.

6 people like this
Posted by bottleneck
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 23, 2016 at 11:08 am

and heaven forbid you try to use that road when parents are picking up their students at the school next to the post office! In combination with these lights, no one will get anywhere.

3 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 23, 2016 at 11:23 am

I wonder how this will affect mail delivery? I suppose at least this time we have been forewarned unlike 101 when it came as a surprise after being told of a weekend ramp closure.

37 people like this
Posted by taxpayer
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 23, 2016 at 11:47 am

101 = THE major vehicular path for silicon valley.

3 years = the project duration

12+ hours = the times every day when I see ZERO workers present

weekends = also, nobody working

What's the deal? I'm asking, honestly, can someone explain the logic behind creating this highway inconvenience to last for years? I really wanna know: why isn't CalTrans working 24/7 to knock this out asap?? Sue or anybody got details?

9 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 23, 2016 at 11:57 am

For drivers going to/from businesses near the Baylands, the only way to avoid the Embarcadero/East Bayshore intersection is by air or sea. On foot or on wheels commuters must navigate that intersection. The burden for coping with this mega inconvenience should not fall solely on commuters. Serious suggestion: supply a traffic control officer to direct traffic at that intersection during commute hours. It is not unusual for drivers intending to turn left onto East Bayshore from Embarcadero to enter that intersection late in the signal cycle and end up stuck in the intersection, screwing up traffic in all directions. The mess impacts Embarcadero Road and access to 101. The tangle also impacts the City's shuttles and emergency vehicle access. Another suggestion: inform the car dealerships that during this time they will need to find an alternative to parking the huge automobile transport trucks on Embarcadero when delivering new cars. That practice effectively eliminates a lane. People work around it most of the time but working around two negatives simultaneously is asking for trouble.

3 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 23, 2016 at 3:52 pm

Yes, that Embarcadero/East Bayshore intersection is an afternoon rush hour nightmare. The northbound 101 traffic exiting for the frontage road into EPA backs up the entire ramp, blocking Oregon traffic headed for 101 north. The pace of walking or cycling through that mess is not significantly hindered, but certainly more precarious for those not inured to congestion. I've only seen the car-carrier trucks parked on Embarcadero out east of Geng Road, yes taking a lane, but not really affecting the throughput of the key intersection. A traffic control officer is probably a good idea, at least the first week of the new pattern, just to keep a lid on road rage or creative driving.

As for working 24/7, overtime costs are higher, night work is more difficult, and there may just not be enough contractor employees to satisfy all the major development projects surrounding us. 101 still has 8 lanes. Here's an idea, how about the commuters spreading themselves out 24/7.

Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 23, 2016 at 4:00 pm

I think the only alternative might be to use San Antonio to 101 and then exit at embarcaderi for bay lands or golf course area

Like this comment
Posted by revdreileen
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 23, 2016 at 4:13 pm

revdreileen is a registered user.

I use West Bayshore as my main route between home and work and I can assure everyone that work has been continuing through the winter on the West Bayshore side of the project, even if it is not visible to 101 travelers. West Bayshore has even been closed to through traffic several times, requiring a re-route over the Newell Road bridge to get to and from Palo Alto. West Bayshore will be closed completely in 2017 as the project continues, adding to traffic on Newell Road and University as the only outlets to and from our little neighborhood.

5 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 23, 2016 at 4:15 pm

The double HOV lanes makes it even worse. Who came up with that idea?? It's devastating that it coincides with the flood construction and rush hour traffic is crammed into 3 lanes. Eliminating HOV lanes in this section on the freeway would help relieve congestion. It would also be much safer.

Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 23, 2016 at 4:37 pm

Using San Antonio for the Palo Alto baylands, entering 101 north is probably shooting yourself in the foot. I'd think better to use the east frontage road all the way, even though many drivers are wise to this already and there's always a queue on northbound East Bayshore waiting for the Embarcadero light. An extended right-turn-only lane there at the old Mings would help, but then you'd get people using it to flip a U-turn at Geng.

6 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 23, 2016 at 5:46 pm

Current lane closures on 101 are already untenable. The proposal to simultaneously close both E Bayshore and 101 lanes makes current problems much worse. Doing so for 8 months is unnecessary and ill-conceived. Caltrans needs to revisit plans and reopen lanes on 101 during lengthy phase 3 of the project.

Send email to Caltrans Director

5 people like this
Posted by KB
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 23, 2016 at 9:10 pm

Just close E Bayshore at the bridge altogether. One way traffic control will just make things far worse. At least closing it will eliminate the thru traffic cutting through EPA to get to the Dumbarton. Then locals can still use it to get to the post office and local businesses. Instituting one way switching flow is a brain dead solution that must have been thought up by some Caltrans bureaucrat who's never actually been onsite at rush hour.

Like this comment
Posted by daniel
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Mar 23, 2016 at 10:31 pm

daniel is a registered user.

Why do we need to e-mail Caltrans? I thought that kind of a situation was exactly the reason why we elect and pay to the city council.

Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 24, 2016 at 12:39 am

Neither 101 nor the creek is within Palo Alto's jurisdiction.

7 people like this
Posted by EPA Resident
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 24, 2016 at 5:24 pm

We live in the most innovative area in the world and THIS is the solution we've come up with to fix the bridge?!?!?! This plan is unconscionable. It's not even April and this has already added so much time to my commute that I needed to pay for extended child care. That's more money out of my pocket and less time with my first child! This can't last until December.

4 people like this
Posted by another resident
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 24, 2016 at 5:42 pm

I drive regularly to the Main Post Office there off of E Embarcadero Rd. I was there yesterday and encountered a scary flagman. Cars were using the traffic lights, with the flagman intermittently directing traffic it seemed. In the absence of direction, on a green, I attempted to pull forward out of the street where the P.O. is, and the flagman started screaming and threatening me! I halted immediately, of course. Couldn't hear quite what the man was screaming.
Behind me was a work truck (not sure if City/government of what) and THAT vehicle honked (for me to go forward on the green), THEN the flagman may have thought I honked, and he screamed again at me as I was halted there. Then the truck driver engaged with a yelling match with the flagman as I figuratively cowered in between. Finally we were permitted to drive forward on the green. I have NEVER in over 30 years of driving had a flagman be so confused, rude, and bizarre. My problem is i will now have to drive much farther to use the downtown P.A. Post Office.
The road construction schemes are screwy around here and poorly managed.

3 people like this
Posted by Well
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 24, 2016 at 11:03 pm

We could just let Palo Alto continue to flood

34 people like this
Posted by Let them eat grass
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 25, 2016 at 8:39 am

This is just part of the philosophy of the government urbanistas to force normal working folks out of cars and onto mass transit. If your time and frustration needs to be sacrificed on the alter of social engineering then its your fault.

They think driving habits are malleable with the use of negative reinforcement. Make commuting so miserable that they can justify 10 story buildings with no-car contracts and tracking devices.

If life is hard, just ride the Google bus.

7 people like this
Posted by Johnny
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 25, 2016 at 11:01 am

I've given up fighting it. At this point so many soft-hearted gullible Palo Altans and others drink up the koolaid and believe cars are inherently evil and "we" should embrace a postmodern, green, clean air Socialist utopia and I dearly hope they succeed, abandon those gas-powered machines of the devil and crowd into buses and carpools so "I" can enjoy the open road. There are advantages to being so unscrupulous.

5 people like this
Posted by Bewildered
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 28, 2016 at 11:38 pm

I agree with the person who stated that we live in this high tech innovative environment and this is the best solution Caltrans came up with. However I do have to remind people that Caltrans is designed to FAIL. There is no way with the current state of the public transportation run by Caltrans that it can ever be viable and successful. It limps along year after year taking riders hours to get around the Bay Area on subpar service costing a small fortune.

Now with the choking the flow of traffic in and out of EPA, along a road that is already horrendous even during light rush hour traffic, the people that get hit the hardest are the residents of EPA. How many ways are there to get from 101 into EPA without hitting a a shit load of traffic - Bayshore via Embarcadero, University, Willow? Choke one of those and the other's are choked as well.

Who does Caltrans think they are making life so miserable for residents? Why can't this be restricted to the summer with service 24/7? If cost is such a factor fire the morons who came up with this plan in the first place, they are probably getting paid more than they deserve and bleeding Caltrans dry.

Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 29, 2016 at 8:45 am

There is this thing called rain, it delayed the project. There is this thing called construction, it takes time.Remember, Nine women cannot make a baby in a month,the same goes for construction.

6 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 29, 2016 at 8:48 am

It's not just CalTrain enjoying making life miserable for drivers; it's also Palo Alto.

In preparation for the "community outreach" meetings on Embarcadero traffic problems, I recently complained about the Embarcadero/Newell turn light only letting through 3 cars each cycle which effectively reduces the Embarcadero through lanes to one. I even got a call from the City thanking me for the input.

Now. however, the city has reduced the turn lane cycle to ONE, maybe 2 cars if the 2d car wants to risk the turn on red, just in time for the Bayshore backups,

Isn't progress great? FEH.

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

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