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The project will have significant traffic and neighborhood impacts on Marsh Road in order to perform the work and to allow for construction equipment and material staging. There will be unavoidable impacts to traffic flow and significant impacts to the surrounding neighborhoods (traffic, noise, etc.). The project construction is wedged between the immovable boundaries of April 15 and October 15 (State law). The project is further constricted by school traffic/timing and the Town’s waste hauler route audit. It has also been suggested that the project limit its impact during the school year (mid-June and early-August) – to accommodate these boundaries, the project construction period would be limited to mid-May 2016 to mid-October 2016 (5 months) – pushing the project to school year end or school year beginning, but not both.
If all the weekdays in the above period were open, this limits the project to 100 construction days; assuming the project is confined to the Town’s established Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm construction requirements. That is not sufficient time for the project to complete. Staff worked with the construction management professional and developed three potential construction schedules addressing the concerns as much as possible. In broad summary, the proposed construction schedule would involve an 8-week full closure (48 working days) of Marsh Road (access to local driveways permitted) with active construction from 9 am to 8 pm, Monday through Saturday. The remainder of the necessary construction period (42 days) would have daytime flagging of 1-lane, 2-way traffic control and active construction from 9 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday.
The Council was and is keenly interested in the opportunity to cover the channel at a future date with the possibility of bicycle and/or pedestrian pathways along it. However, there are a number of issues to work through first - 1) environmental review; 2) termination of the bike/ped at Fair Oaks in the County...then what? 3) capacity issues related to the covered channel
The addition of an emergency response lane is something that the Menlo Park Fire District has suggested as a priority when/if the channel is ultimately covered. Because Marsh Road is a detour corridor for Highway 101, a thruway for travel through Atherton to other destinations, and an emergency response route to areas around Atherton, the question becomes who should contribute to the widening of the roadway? Should the cost be borne by solely Atherton residents? Or, should the cost of the project be spread amongst the State, the Fire District, and other regional agencies with an interest in the improvements?
At the present time, the Town is solely interested in a project that can rehabilitate the channel. It is currently deteriorating to the point that the roadway itself is in jeopardy of failing. The cost to do this incremental repair is nearly $3.5 million (all in) - all at the expense of Atherton residents. Bigger projects addressing bigger issues with far more substantial costs will be considered at a later date. Roadway safety is the primary issue driving the project at this point.