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US-101 Northbound Central San Rafael Off-Ramp Bridge Replacement (Caltrans)

Caltrans Offramp Photo 1


Project goals

  • Install a seismically safe and updated bridge structure at the US 101 NB Central San Rafael off-ramp
  • Add a second right turn lane in the off-ramp turning onto Second Street to reduce vehicle queuing and back-up onto the freeway
  • Improve pedestrian safety by relocating Second Street crosswalks at intersection of Irwin Street and Second Street
  • Addition of a second righthand turn lane to allow for more motorists to turn onto Second Street


Construction $14,700,000 (Caltrans funded)


In 1941, the bridge structure at the 101 NB Central San Rafael off-ramp was built and is no longer seismically safe. As opposed to seismically retrofitting the existing structure,  Caltrans plans to remove and replace the existing bridge with an upgraded, seismically reinforced bridge. Additionally, Caltrans has worked with the City to incorporate the adding of a second right turn lane before 2nd Street to the project (there is currently only one). This will significantly reduce the traffic queuing that currently often backs up onto the freeway.

Second and Irwin Intersection Lane Configuration Rendering

This is a major construction project, and will have significant impacts to both traffic at the NB 101 Central San Rafael exit and to sound as pile-driving will be required for the new bridge foundation. While the majority of construction can take place closing just one or two lanes on the bridge and keeping the off-ramp open, the project will require several extended closures for intensive construction. In fall 2018, Caltrans and the City created a survey to ask residents which type of extended closure they would prefer: a longer construction period of nighttime closures or a shorter construction period with several full-weekend closures. Several hundred San Rafael residents took the survey, and based on the preferred option indicated from the survey Caltrans will be closing the off-ramp for several non-consecutive weekends in 2021 and 2022.

55-Hour Weekend Closures

While the project still requires nighttime closures for the majority of the construction work, the construction period will be shorter than without the full-weekend closures. Detours will be in place during all full closures.

55-Hour Weekend Closure Schedule (Tentative)
Start Date/Time End Date/Time Status
1 Friday, March 19, 2021 at 10 PM Monday, March 22 at 5 AM Completed
2 Friday, October 22, 2021 at 7 PM Saturday, October 23 at 12 PM Completed

*These times and dates are subject to change. Please refer to the Caltrans project website and the City's project website for any news and updates.

Regular Schedule

Effective February 8, 2021, the construction schedule is as follows:
Construction schedule beginning Feb 8, 2021 Partial closure (off-ramp still open) Full closure (off ramp closed, detours in place)
Mon - Thu 9-11pm 11pm-6am
Fri 9pm-12am 12-6am
Sat 8pm-12am 12-8am
Sun 8-11pm 11pm-6am

Please note: this is the regular construction schedule; not the 55-hour weekend closure schedule. Please check the table underneath the "55-Hour Weekend Closure" section for the full weekend, full off-ramp closure schedule.

Detours for full-ramp closures

101 offramp detour 1
North San Pedro Road exit detour
101 offramp detour 2
I-580 exit detour

What is Caltrans?  Caltrans (California Department of Transportation) is the statewide agency that maintains all highways and freeways in California. In Marin, Caltrans maintains all lanes, offramps, onramps, and signalized intersections that are a part of Highway 101, Interstate 580 and Highway 1.

Why is this not a City project? The 101 NB off-ramp at the Central San Rafael exit is part of Highway 101, and therefore falls under Caltrans jurisdiction and maintenance. The technical term is that the highway, on and off-ramps, as well as streets underneath the raised highway are part of Caltrans' "right-of-way". This means that even though this project is in San Rafael, Caltrans is the lead agency for the project scope, schedule and management of the contractor. While Caltrans giving the City updates on the project, the City is not managing the construction project.


Design 2018 - 2019
Construction February 2021 - Early 2022

Project Presentation at October 4, 2021 City Council Meeting

More information

Project contact

Chiconda V. Davis | Caltrans Public Information Officer

RocQuel Johnson | Caltrans Branch Chief

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