Caltrans intends to rebuild the bridge that makes up the northbound 101 Central San Rafael highway off ramp. The reason for this work is that the existing structure is inadequate so the entire bridge will be replaced over a large part of next year. The work will include driving piles for the new structure followed by replacement of the bridge deck. The work will be a phased construction project necessitating closures, detours and temporary lanes during the course of the project. Once completed, the structure will be modern and safe, the pedestrian crosswalks will be reconfigured, and there will be one additional lane providing a right hand turn/through lane which will allow a second right hand turn onto 2nd Street from the freeway exit.
Caltrans is evaluating three alternatives for the loudest and most disruptive phase of their project, pile driving. They initially evaluated doing 42 nights of pile driving (11 pm to 7 am). The bridge would be closed and traffic will be diverted to either Bellam Ave or North San Pedro. Caltrans recognizes that this will be disruptive and they are concerned about the community impact of all night pile driving for 42 nights. They will muffle the equipment and create a shield around it but they still are concerned that the noise will be impactful in the community, especially at night when there is less other ambient noise.
Because of the impact of many consecutive nights of pile driving, Caltrans is exploring two alternatives that will minimize the night time pile driving. The first alternative anticipates five weekend ramp closures, closing the bridge at 11 pm on Friday night and reopening at 5 am on Monday morning. For this alternative, the pile driving will be done from 7 am to 10 pm. Of these closures, the first three will be consecutive and last two will be spaced about three months apart. The second alternative anticipates three weekend closures, closing the bridge at 11 pm on Friday night and reopening at 5 am on Monday morning. For this alternative, the pile driving will occur around the clock. These closures would occur on non-consecutive weekends over the course of a few months. The same detours would be in place. Caltrans will provide extensive notification to motorists in advance of, and during the closures similar to the notifications that occurred when the Bay Bridge and Golden Gate Bridge needed to be closed in years past.
This off ramp closure will impact the entire region, and San Rafael will be directly affected by either of these ideas.
Caltrans is seeking input on the three alternatives. Ultimately, they will decide how to proceed based on a number of factors, but community input is important to their decision making. They asked us to gather feedback on the three alternates. The three options are:
- 42 nighttime closures with pile driving at night
- 5 full weekend closures (11 PM Friday to 5 AM Monday) with pile driving occurring from 7 AM to 10 PM each day. The first three weekend closures will be consecutive.
- 3 nonconsecutive weekend closures (11 PM Friday to 5 AM Monday) with pile driving around the clock.
Please select a preferred option and let us know your preference by Wednesday, November 7 by taking a quick survey. This is a critical infrastructure project and Caltrans is responsible for the project. The City of San Rafael supports this work but please note, the city can provide feedback but cannot stop this project from moving forward.
If you wish to direct questions or comments to Caltrans directly, you can reach out to Marcus Wagner at (510) 622-8758.