Newell Road/San Francisquito Creek Bridge Replacement Project
Project Update: January 9, 2013
Based on the extensive community input regarding the Newell Road Bridge Replacement Project received since the November 1, 2012 Architectural Review Board meeting, an additional public meeting was held on January 8, 2013 to allow stakeholders to provide input on the project alternatives. Click here to view the presentation that was presented at the meeting.
Community Meeting for Input on Newell Road Bridge Alternatives Date and Time: Tuesday, January 8, 2013, 7:00PM Location: Community Room at the Lucie Stern Community Center 1305 Middlefied Road, Palo Alto
Following the January 8, 2013 public meeting, the City of Palo Alto plans to initiate a full Environmental Impact Report (EIR) process under the California Environmental Quality Act. The EIR process will evaluate project alternatives with respect to their impacts on the environment including aesthetics, biological resources, hydrology, land use and planning, noise, and transportation/traffic. It is envisioned that the following alternatives will be analyzed through the EIR process. * No project (leave existing bridge in place); * Removal of existing bridge without replacement; * New bicycle/pedestrian only bridge; * New bridge using existing bridge alignment; * New bridge realigned to line up with Newell Road in East Palo Alto; and * New bridge with a partial realignment Project Description
The City of Palo Alto, in partnership with the City of East Palo Alto and the San Francisquito Creek Joint Powers Authority (JPA), is evaluating options for replacement of the Newell Road Bridge over San Francisquito Creek. The existing bridge, built in 1911, impedes the creek channel and requires replacement to accomodate a 1% (100-year) flood event. Improvements to the Newell Road Bridge will protect adjacent homes from flooding if there is a large storm event. All the San Francisquito Creek crossings between Middlefield Road and US 101 will eventually be upgraded, as designs are completed and funds available, to provide improved local flood protection.
The existing bridge abutments are located within the creek bed, causing a flow constriction in the channel that prevents it from accommodating the estimated 1% (100-year) flow event. The current (2010) Santa Clara Valley Water District hydraulic model for San Francisquito Creek indicates that the existing bridge opening can convey peak flow of 5900 cubic feet per second (cfs), whereas the 1% flow rate is 9200 cfs. The Newell Road bridge is within the scope of an ongoing study being conducted by the San Francisquito Creek Joint Powers Authority (SFCJPA) to identify potential channel and bridge improvements that will provide increased flood protection to the area. It is important that the new bridge design not only pass the 1% flow event, but also accommodate future improvements within the channel and at the top of bank both upstream and downstream of the new bridge that will provide conveyance of the 1% flow and maintain FEMA’s minimum requirements.
The City has retained engineering consultant NV5 to assist with the design and environmental assessment of the project. Although the consultant will be managed by the City of Palo Alto, extensive coordination with City of East Palo Alto and SFCJPA staff will be performed throughout the project. There will also be a robust public communication and outreach plan to solicit input from members of the public. The project will require design review by various advisory boards and commissions in both cities. The consultant will also be responsible for environmental review and documentation of the project in compliance with the provisions of both the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Lastly, the consultant must also assist the City of Palo Alto in acquiring all local, state, and federal regulatory permits required for the construction of the replacement bridge.
The design and aesthetics of the replacement Newell Road bridge will be subject to review by the following review bodies:
City of Palo Alto — Architectural Review Board Planning and Transportation Commission
City of East Palo Alto -- Public Works & Transportation Commission Planning Commission
In addition, the project is subject to the City of Palo Alto’s Art in City Capital Improvement Projects Policy. One percent of the final estimated cost of the replacement bridge will be earmarked for a public art element, at the discretion of the City of Palo Alto Public Art Commission. The design consultant will work cooperatively with the artist selected by the Public Art Commission and staff from the cities of Palo Alto and East Palo Alto to incorporate the art into the final bridge design.
The project is being funded through a Caltrans Highway Bridge Program grant. 88.5% of the funding for project design and environmental assessment is being provided by Caltrans, with the remaining 11.5% coming from the Santa Clara Valley Water District.
The initial community meeting for the project was held on June 27, 2012 to provide preliminary information about the project and to solicit comments and questions from members of the public. Click here to view the exhibits presented at the community meeting.