The San Francisquito Creek (U.S. Route 101) Bridge Replacement Project is underway
The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) began work on June 5, 2015 on the San Francisquito Creek Bridge Replacement Project along Highway 101 at the Palo Alto/East Palo Alto border.
The initial objective for this project was to replace structurally-deficient bridges at Highway 101, East Bayshore Road, and West Bayshore Road over San Francisquito Creek. Because these bridges have caused flooding several times in the past and have the lowest creek flow capacity of any bridges along flood-prone San Francisquito Creek, the San Francisquito Creek Joint Powers Authority (SFCJPA) and its member agencies, including the City of Palo Alto, approached Caltrans in late 2008 to request that the replacement bridges be designed to improve the flow of water beneath the roadway. Caltrans worked cooperatively with the local agencies to design new bridges that will reduce the flood risk to residents and businesses in Palo Alto and East Palo Alto and complement the planned JPA channel improvements downstream of Highway 101.
- Replacement of the Highway 101, East Bayshore Road, and West Bayshore Road bridges over San Francisquito Creek
- Funded and managed by Caltrans
- Replaces structurally-deficient bridges built between 1931 and 1957
- Increases San Francisquito Creek flow capacity and reduces flood risk for residents and businesses in Palo Alto and East Palo Alto
- Coordinated with the SFCJPA’s Bay-to-Highway 101 Flood Damage Reduction and Ecosystem Restoration Project
Project Schedule - June 2015 through October 2017
Due to the need to maintain existing traffic flow and comply with environmental regulations applicable to work in the creek, Caltrans’ contractor will construct the bridge replacement project in stages over the next three years, with in-stream work performed between June and October of each construction season. Caltrans worked cooperatively with Palo Alto and East Palo Alto staff to develop staging and detour plans intended to minimize disruptions to local and regional traffic patterns. As this is a major construction project, however, the project will result in some traffic delays and inconvenience to motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians. City staff is working with Caltrans and other agencies to monitor conditions and will pursue modifications as needed to ensure impacts are minimized throughout construction.
- Highway 101 bridge to be replaced in three stages between 2015 and 2017, with four traffic lanes maintained in each direction (auxiliary lanes have been removed and will not be replaced until the project is completed). Traffic lanes will be shifted during each construction stage to avoid the active construction zone.
- East Bayshore Road bridge will be replaced in two phases in 2016 and 2017. During the bridge replacement, traffic will be diverted to a single lane, with two-way traffic controlled via a temporary traffic signal system that allows one direction of travel at a time. Bicycle and pedestrian access will be maintained during construction. This temporary one-lane traffic scenario will maintain full access into and out of East Palo Alto, but is expected to cause traffic delays. Motorists are encouraged to use alternate routes if possible.
- West Bayshore Road bridge will be replaced in 2017. During construction of the replacement bridge, West Bayshore Road will be closed to all through traffic (vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians). Traffic detours will be posted to direct traffic around the bridge closure.
What is being done to manage traffic?
Caltrans is aware of the need to manage traffic, and City staff is working with Caltrans to minimize traffic disruptions. Avoid U.S. Route 101 from Embarcadero Road to University Avenue during peak commute hours by taking alternative routes, using alternative transportation or travel in this area outside of peak commute hours.
For the latest and additional information about the project, visit the San Francisquito Creek Bridge Replacement Project on Caltrans website, download the aerial map or fact sheet. In addition, the City of Palo Alto is updating this webpage (see the news stories below) with the latest information we receive from Caltrans.
It's easy to stay informed with the latest information about Caltrans’ San Francisquito Creek Bridge Replacement Project and traffic conditions:
Visit the project website.
Sign up for Caltrans mailing list.
Login for Caltrans traffic updates.
Follow Caltrans Socially
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Call Caltrans at 1-800-427-ROAD
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