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City Council meeting presentation recap: 101 NB Central San Rafael off-ramp bridge replacement project

Posted on March 16, 2021

On the March 15th City Council meeting, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) presented an informational report on the 101 NB Central San Rafael Off-Ramp Bridge Replacement project. This is a major improvement project that requires heavy construction and will cause disruption to residents and businesses. Special thanks to Caltrans Regional Project Manager, Wajahat Nyaz, and the Caltrans team for their presentation. It was an opportunity for Caltrans to not only explain the project in detail, but it also provided and opportunity for the Council and public to ask questions. In case you missed it, here is a recap of the presentation:

This project is located on the US 101 Northbound off-ramp to Central San Rafael:US 101 NB Bridge Replacement (Caltrans) Project Location

Project Purpose and Benefits

In 1941, the original bridge was built. It is now deteriorating and is no longer seismically-safe. This project entails construction on the off-ramp, the bridge that exists over the canal, as well as, improvements to the Irwin Street and Second Street Intersection by:

  • Replacement of the bridge with a new safe structure
  • Widen and realign the ramp – this lessens the amount of queuing and thus, reduces traffic congestion
  • Change lane configuration by adding a right-turn lane which allows for safer and better signalization
  • Reconfigure the crosswalk to make it safer and better signalization
  • Remove sidewalk/pedestrian access for safer access

Project Schedule, Stage Construction, and Traffic Handling

This project is located in a congested urban area with buildings in close proximity to the construction site. Therefore, the project will be completed in stages. Construction is anticipated to finish in fall/early winter 2021. The first weekend closure is set for Friday, March 19 at 10 PM to Monday, March 22 at 5 AM. Two more 55-hour weekend closures are tentatively set for Friday, July 9 at 10 PM to Monday, July 12 at 5 AM and Friday, October 1 at 10 PM to Monday, October 4 at 5 AM. Please note: these dates and times are subject to change. For most up to date news, please visit the project website.

The first phase of the project will include the installation of barriers at the pavement edges, construction of a temporary bridge, and installation of some temporary paving. The second phase will include traffic shifts to the temporary bridge, demolition of the east side of the current bridge, construction of a new bridge, and subsequent paving. The third phase entails traffic shifts to the new bridge, demolition of the west side of the bridge, and construction of a new bridge. The last phase of work will include pavement striping and signage.

Phase 1

101 NB Bridge Replacement (Caltrans) Project Construction Phase 1

Construction Noise

As mentioned before, this is a critical project that requires heavy construction and demolition. Thus, residents and businesses will experience noise and disturbance during construction. Caltrans did conduct studies to address noise impact during the preliminary design phase of the project. To minimize noise levels, Caltrans will be covering the impact hammer with shroud which reduces noise by 20-30 decibels. However, the community can still expect to hear loud noise levels throughout construction. The major construction will take place during the 55-hour scheduled times, therefore the majority of noise levels will be during these time periods.


A few detours will be in place for the March 19-March 22 construction phase. Portable changeable message signs (CMS) will be deployed, overhead CMS signs will be activated, and the Caltrans transportation team will monitor traffic and will address any issues if they arise. In addition, San Rafael PD will help manage traffic.

The presentation went into detail on what the construction entails, the purpose of this project, and helpful detour information. For more information, check out the presentation. For questions and inquiries, please contact Caltrans Brach Chief, RocQuel Johnson at or (510) 501-0446.

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