Marsh Road Retaining Wall Repair


Construction to replace the Atherton Channel walls and floor from Middlefield Road northerly to Fair Oaks Avenue will begin May 31. The retaining wall supporting Marsh Road, which also forms one of the walls of Atherton Channel, is in need of repair. When the Channel is completed, a metal railing to prevent vehicles from driving into the Channel from Marsh Road will be installed. Due to safety requirements during construction, Marsh Road will be completely closed beginning on May 31. The closure will continue into August.

Below is the latest update on the closure.

Week of August 8 UPDATE

The construction to replace the damaged retaining walls of the Atherton Channel along Marsh Road between Middlefield Road and Fair Oaks Avenue is nearing completion and Marsh Road reopened to all traffic on Saturday August 13, 2016. The project team worked efficiently and went above and beyond to meet the strict schedule and limit the duration of traffic disruption.

“We know that the channel repair has had a significant impact on area wide traffic and in particular, the neighborhoods adjacent to Marsh Road. We sincerely appreciate the patience and understanding from the community at large”, said Mayor Lewis, Town of Atherton.

Work Completed

  • Finished installing the channel railing
  • Finished installing the drainage system behind the retaining wall.
  • Finished backfilling behind the west wall, and overlaid Marsh Road with Asphalt Concrete (between Middlefield and Fair Oaks).
  • Approximately 1,300’ of Insituform sewer pipe liner was installed for West Bay Sanitary District

Upcoming Work

  • Install striping on Marsh Road
  • Complete installation of Insituform sewer pipe liner
  • Complete punch list items
Two trucks
Cones in street
Blue object in channel
Construction worker and sign
Paving near guardrail
Paving complete

Final Week - August 12 Update

Marsh Road is scheduled to re-open on Saturday, August 13 between 5 pm and 6 pm. There will be some remedial work to be done over the next week to complete the sewer line restoration, re-striping the roadway, removal of signage/barricades, removing secondary by-pass materials, and minor pavement repairs. This work will be done under a simple lane closure with directed traffic in both directions. This minor remaining work should complete out in the by August 26.

Week of July 25 Update

  • The Contractor finished pouring the east wall last week. All of the major concrete work on the channel is now finished.
  • Backfilling and compacting the front/traffic side off the west wall continues. Backfill is approx. 80% done on this wall.
  • The Contractor received the steel traffic railing this week. They have set approx. 90% of the posts for the railing.
  • Concrete finishing work continues along the top of the west wall.
Side of road construction
Two workers near wall
Side of road with cones

July 28 Update

  • Construction of the concrete channel floor and west wall is complete
  • Construction of the east wall is over 50% complete and scheduled to be 100% complete by July 30
  • Construction for the rehabilitation of the West Bay Sanitary District trunk main was initiated

Marsh road is scheduled to be reopened August 13. Thank you everyone for your continued patience and cooperation as we successfully complete this project.

Truck near supports
Construction equipment and workers
Concrete path

Week of June 6

  • Granite Construction continued with their demolition and hauling off debris and dirt from the existing west channel wall (approx. 85% done).
  • Contractor excavated to grade, placed and compacted approx. 250 LF of base rock starting from the east end of the creek. Rebar is ready to be placed in this section.
  • Additional traffic control signs and pavement markings were added to enhance the facilitate traffic control through the North Fair Oaks neighborhood. Flaggers will remain in place for the present time.

June 6, 2016 Update - Traffic Counts

Atherton Traffic Counts

Bay Road between 10th and 15th (PDF)
Bay Road between Greenwood and Marsh (PDF)
Bay Road between Ringwood and Greenwood (PDF)
Bay Road between Willow and Ringwood (PDF)
Coleman Ave between Ringwood and Berkeley (PDF)
Coleman Ave between Willow and Berkeley (PDF)
Encina Ave between Middlefield and Oak (PDF)
Fair Oaks between Marsh and 14th (PDF)
15th Ave between Marsh and Fair Oaks (PDF)
5th Ave between Spring and Fair Oaks (PDF)
14th between Bay and Fair Oaks (PDF)
Fredrick between Ringwood and Greenoaks (PDF)
Holbrook Lane between Middlefield and 17th (PDF)
James Ave between Middlefield and Catalpa (PDF)
Marsh Road between Bay and Bohannon (PDF)
Middlefield Rd between Marsh and Oak Grove (PDF)
Middlefield Rd between Marsh and Palmer (PDF)
Middlefield Rd between Willow and Ravenswood (PDF)
Middlefield Rd between City Limits and Willow (PDF)
Oak Dr between Placitas and San Benito (PDF)
Oak Grove between Middlefield and Greenoaks (PDF)
Page St between Marsh and 17th (PDF)
Palmer between Middlefield and Fair Oaks (PDF)
Placitas between Middlefield and Oak (PDF)
Ravenswood Avenue between Laurel and Middlefield (PDF)
Ringwood Avenue between Middlefield and Bay (PDF)
San Benito between Middlefield and Fair Oaks (PDF)
Toyon between Ringwood and Oak Grove (PDF)
Willow Road between Middlefield and Gilbert (PDF)
Willow Road between Durham and Bay (PDF)
Woodside Rd between Middlefield and Spring (PDF)
Woodside Rd between Bay and Spring (PDF)

June 3, 2016 Update - Traffic Counts

On May 17, pre-construction 24-hour traffic counts were taken throughout the detour areas. The data at each location is linked below. A second set of traffic counts will be taken at these same locations during the week of June 6. The comparative traffic volumes will be posted shortly thereafter. It is expected that there will be some increases throughout the region. Areas where there are significant increases will assist the Town in taking corrective actions along the detour routes.

Bay Road between 10th and 15th (PDF)
Coleman Ave between Ringwood and Berkeley (PDF)
Coleman Ave between Willow and Berkeley (PDF)
Encina Ave between Middlefield and Oak (PDF)
Fair Oaks between Marsh and 14th (PDF)
15th Ave between Marsh and Fair Oaks (PDF) 
5th Ave between Spring and Fair Oaks (PDF)
14th between Bay and Fair Oaks (PDF)
Fredrick between Ringwood and Greenoaks (PDF)
Holbrook Lane between Middlefield and 17th (PDF)
James Ave between Middlefield and Catalpa (PDF)
Middlefield Rd between Marsh and Oak Grove (PDF)
Middlefield Rd between Marsh and Palmer (PDF)
Oak Dr between Placitas and San Benito (PDF)
Oak Grove between Middlefield and Greenoaks (PDF)
Page St between Marsh and 17th (PDF)
Palmer between Middlefield and Fair Oaks (PDF)
Placitas between Middlefield and Oak (PDF)
San Benito between Middlefield and Fair Oaks (PDF)
Toyon between Ringwood and Oak Grove (PDF)
Woodside Rd between Middlefield and Spring (PDF)
Woodside Rd between Bay and Spring (PDF)

June 2, 2016 Update

Marsh Road is now closed. Adjacent streets are closed to through traffic. These include the Atherton streets of Holbrook, Palmer, and San Benito, and County streets of Fair Oaks, Bay and 15th. Please remember to use an alternate route. Local destination users are allowed on all streets; however, through traffic/commute traffic are not. Other neighborhood streets may have signage as well. Please respect these neighborhood restrictions and be courteous as you drive these areas. Obey local stop laws and speed limits. Local law enforcement will be present at times to enforce and monitor traffic flow during the construction project.

The Marsh Road Project involves large grading machinery, crane work, pile driving, dust, back-up horns, boring, and excavation work. This work is very loud and involves machinery that creates extended and extreme vibrations. There are residences within 30 feet of the project site and driveways immediately adjacent to the project. The project construction hours are Monday through Friday from 8 am to 8 pm and Saturday from 8 am to 5 pm. The Town investigated the possibility of over night construction but the time frame for the project would have extended beyond an acceptable timeline (Federal deadline) and the impact on residences 30 feet away for night construction for 3-4 months was determined to be too impactful. Overnight construction on freeways and off ramps is much further away from residential homes.

The immediate adjacent neighborhood of North Fair Oaks (County and Atherton) are regularly impacted by any traffic delays on Marsh Road as traffic cuts off at Fair Oaks, Bay and 15th Avenue and travels down the narrow adjacent residential streets in an attempt to bypass any traffic on Marsh Road. More than 20,000 vehicles travel along Marsh Road per day. It was determined to be too impactful to divert 20,000 vehicles from the larger collector Marsh Road to the adjacent residential streets of Holbrook, Palmer, San Benito, Fair Oaks, Bay and 15th as those streets are not designed to accommodate the impact. Therefore, the Town worked with the cities of Menlo Park, Redwood City, and the County of San Mateo to design a regional traffic diversion plan to address the impact. Residents in the North Fair Oaks area and on Marsh Road were provided with placards to allow regular access while through traffic was diverted to the larger collector routes of Ringwood, Florence, 5th, Woodside Road, Bay and Willow. The placard enforcement in the Fair Oaks neighborhoods will be constant for the first couple weeks of the project and intermittent each week thereafter with traffic counts assisting the Town with identifying where the hotspots are and where/when enforcement needs to occur. Please help by avoiding these streets.

In addition to the North Fair Oaks neighborhood(s), local traffic only signs have been placed along the entrances to Lindenwood and other areas in Atherton, Menlo Park, and the County - particularly at streets that are cut-through streets for commuters to go from Bay to Ringwood to Middlefield to El Camino Real. While there are signs up, there are no flaggers or placards being used to manage the traffic flow. Enforcement in these areas is primarily by local law enforcement for stopping and speeding. If you enter these areas you are encouraged to obey local traffic laws, stop at all stop signs, obey the speed limit and watch carefully for pedestrians. These streets are regularly used by pedestrians, cyclists, and children. Local law enforcement will not be lenient with those using these streets as cut through streets during the construction project. These streets are open to all users who have local destinations - local residences, schools, businesses, churches, etc. in Atherton and Menlo Park.

The Town encourages your patience during this extreme time. The Drainage Channel Project must be completed. Engineers determined that the channel is in such a deteriorative state that failure could occur at any time. Failure of the channel would mean a failure of the roadway itself. If that had occurred, the roadway would be closed for far longer and the impact could have been far greater. Thank you again for your patience.

I understand that the project is in Atherton and the project is an Atherton project. However, the impact of this project is regional. The Atherton roadways, Marsh Road and Middlefield Road are used by more than 20,000 cars a day. Most of those trips are regional trips. The impact of this project is regional. Every effort is being taken to address the impacts of the project. Your cooperation is appreciated. If you can avoid the area - please do so. If you cannot - please expect delay or expect to be re-routed as the situation may dictate. The traffic impact will lessen over the summer when school traffic dissipates and commute traffic learns the diversion pattern.

We will attempt to address any hot spots through out the impact areas. However, we will not be closing down other roadways or adding new placard systems in other areas beyond North Fair Oaks. There will be local law enforcement and other assistance as needed. Thank you for your patience.

May 27, 2016 Update

The North Fair Oaks Community will be allowed to travel through road closures at all times. The posting of signs “ROAD CLOSED TO THRU TRAFFIC” are intended to discourage cut-through traffic avoiding the posted detour route. Construction Flaggers will be posted at the intersections of Marsh Road and Fair Oaks Avenue during work hours and for the duration of the project. Supplemental Construction Flaggers may also be posted at the intersection of Fair Oaks Avenue and Middlefield to assist pedestrians and bicyclists, and at the intersection of 15th Avenue and 18th Avenue. At these locations, the need for the Construction Flaggers will be evaluated after the detour has been in place for a while.

The Placard program is intended to aid in the convenience of the residents, visitors and their service providers win the North Fair Oaks areas. The Construction Flagger will simply wave them through if the Placard is displayed. Those entering the North Fair Oaks area without a placard will be asked to turn around. Pedestrians and bicyclists do not need a placard.

Construction work (and flaggers) will be limited to the time period between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 8:00 a.m. and 5 p.m. Saturday. No work on Sundays and holidays.


After hours, a single westbound lane will be open along Marsh Road for residents and others. “Wrong way” signs will be placed at the intersection of Middlefield and Marsh to prohibit eastbound Marsh Road traffic. At this intersection the southbound Middlefield left turn pocket to eastbound Marsh Road will be permanently barricaded and the northbound Middlefield right turn to eastbound Marsh Road will be permanently barricaded.

Along Marsh road there will be a continuous raised concrete barrier separating the single westbound lane from the construction zone.

The Atherton Police Department will be patrolling the area and enforcing the traffic laws in the neighborhoods affected by the detour. In addition, the California Highway Patrol has been contracted by the Town for traffic control at Marsh Road and Fair Oaks Avenue during work hours for the initial closure week.

FAQs about the closure

How do residents who live on Marsh Road in the construction zone, enter/exit their properties?

Residents may only enter from westbound Marsh Road. Marsh Road will be closed to eastbound traffic at Middlefield Road. During work hours there may be temporary delays. However, the Construction Flagger will communicate with the on-site project superintendent to quickly move construction equipment. Pedestrians, mail, garbage and other deliveries will also be allowed with these same restrictions. All are requested to use caution in this construction zone.

 Who received a resident placard? How many per household?

The Town’s contractor, Granite Construction, mailed out ten (10) Placards to the Fair Oaks Community. Please see map below. Fair Oaks Community outline in red.

placard map
Map with red area

If I did not receive my placard who should I call? Can I get extra placards?

Please contact the 24-Hour Line for Marsh Road Project: (650) 847-4045. Additional placards are also available at the Town’s Administration counter located at 91 Ashfield Road, Atherton. Proof of residence will be required (driver’s license).

When can we expect the project to end and the road to re-open?

The current schedule has Marsh Road opening to two-way traffic on August 13, 2016.

Project Documents

Detour Plan (PDF)

Q&A from the April 28 Meeting - North Fair Oaks (PDF)

PowerPoint Presentation from May 4 Public Meeting (PPT)

Marsh Road Geotechnical Report (PDF)

Requests for Bids for Marsh Road Channel Repair Project

What Does the Construction Project Look Like?

Plans and specifications include restrictions on working days and hours. The bid opening was held in April 2016. The Council awarded the bid on April 20. The Town met with the selected contractor to obtain their proposed work schedule and make sure that it fits within the Town's restrictions. Staff worked with an experienced consultant to sketch out a rough plan schedule that may ultimately be modified by the selected contractor upon approval by the Town.

Project Overview

1st Four Weeks

After award of the contract, the first 4 weeks was spent on submittals, procurement of materials, and mobilization. These activities included placement of site equipment, materials storage, establishment of detours and traffic control. All of these activities occurred without closing the road.

2nd Four Weeks

During the next 4 weeks there will be tree trimming, temporary cofferdams and dewatering, shoring walls, demolition and excavation. The tree trimming operation may require lifts and cranes. There will be delivery of heavy pile driving equipment to deploy for installation of the metal retaining wall adjacent to Marsh Road. This initial activity will require closure of at least one lane and flagging to restrict traffic. Boom trucks will be working along side the channel and there will be trucks moving materials in and out of the site. This will be the point at which the contractor begins installation of a temporary retaining wall to hold up Marsh Road and begin to drive piles alongside Marsh Road. In addition to the drill/driver rig, there will be a crane and one or more semi-trailers carrying steel I-beams, steel sheets, and large wooden beams to be placed between the piles to retain Marsh Road - prior to removal of the existing retaining wall. The assemblage of equipment will require a long section of the roadway.

3rd and 4th Four Weeks

After the temporary retaining wall is installed, the contractor will begin demolition and excavation. Once the site is cleared, delivery and placement of approximately 300,000 pounds of rebar will occur. This will require a crane and several semi-trailers. The next 4-8 weeks will be spent on constructing the concrete walls and beginning the backfill operation. The floor will be poured, requiring a concrete pump rig and many transit mix trucks. Next, steel or wood forms will be assembled to form the inner walls of the Channel, followed by concrete pouring. Walls will need to cure for up to 28 days before backfilling. The last step during this period is the installation of the steel pipe guard rail.

Last Four Weeks

The final 4 weeks will be sent on removing all the temporary shorings, cofferdams, demobilization and site clean-up. Once the steel pipe guard rail is installed, the contractor can re-open the road and finalize site clean up and demobilization. The temporary water dam can be removed as well as detour signage.

For more information on the project, contact:
Mary Grace Houlihan, City Engineer
Mary Grace Houlihan