Caltrain has updated its announced planned closures of streets in Palo Alto to accommodate its electrification project work. The work started on Nov. 14 and will continue through Dec. 19.
The closures will include part of Oregon Expressway and may slow traffic at the Alma Street crossing for flaggers, according to a city press release. Here's a breakdown of the scheduled shutdowns, which will last through mid-December:
Caltrain will be doing nightly repairs on the railroad bridge at Alma Street and Oregon Expressway on Dec. 5-9 from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. A detour will be in place for vehicles traveling on northbound Oregon Expressway, which will be closed during the aforementioned hours. A map of the closure can be found below.
Motorists are advised to avoid the area and take alternate routes if traveling along Oregon Expressway during those days and times.
Palo Alto Avenue/Alma Street, Churchill Avenue
The Palo Alto/Alma crossing will be disabled for signal work and testing as part of the electrification project Dec. 9-17. Flaggers will be located at Palo Alto Avenue (near the transition point to Alma Street) and Churchill Avenue crossings throughout this work.
• Dec. 9, during the day, flaggers will be present.
• Palo Alto Avenue: Overnight work is scheduled starting at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 11 through 4 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 12.
• Palo Alto Avenue: Day and night work will begin at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 17, through Monday, Dec. 19 at 4 a.m.
Potential additional impacts
The flaggers will be at all Palo Alto crossings for safety and to ensure gates function properly during the test train runs.
Vehicle and pedestrian traffic will be stopped for test trains until crews certify the crossing warning systems for safe operation. The crossings will be open to motorists and pedestrians when no test train is approaching. Test trains might operate as frequently as every 30 minutes with stop pages of up to 5 minutes as the trains approach and cross.
• If testing is not completed during the weekend, some crossings in Palo Alto might be flagged during weekday nights. Testing on weeknights could take place between Monday, Dec. 12 and Friday, Dec. 16, 9:30 p.m.-4 a.m.
Churchill, Alma, East Meadow, and Charleston pedestrian/bike crossings
From Nov. 14-30, Caltrain installed ground wiring near the signal arms and attached it to the poles for the signaling system at all four corners of the crossings at Churchill Avenue, Alma Street, East Meadow Drive, and Charleston Road. One side of the crossings were closed at a time, which left the other side passable for pedestrians and bicyclists.
El Camino Real road improvements
The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is also planning to improve the roadway surface on El Camino Real, which is designated as state Route 82 and is under its jurisdiction. El Camino has pavement condition index scores that are much lower than other Palo Alto streets. Plans to repave the Palo Alto portion of El Camino Real from the Mountain View to Menlo Park city borders are scheduled for 2023.
"We are aware of challenging road conditions on parts of El Camino Real and when a community member shares concerns with us, we send those directly to Caltrans staff," the city said.
The community can also submit a request directly to Caltrans at csr.dot.ca.gov.