Caltrain set to begin replacement project for 4 San Mateo bridges 

As Caltrain plans to replace four of its aging bridges in San Mateo, residents who live near the tracks are preparing to make adjustments to their commutes during the repair projects.

The bridges at Poplar, Santa Inez, Monte Diablo and Tilton avenues, which are more than 100 years old, need to be replaced to meet current seismic-safety standards, project manager Patrick Kitto said. A contract for the $38 million replacement project was awarded in August to ProVen Management and the work will be paid for through local, state and federal funds.

The repairs are set to begin in late November or early December and will likely take two years to complete, according to Caltrain.

As the project is underway, roads will be closed near the bridges at various times. Each road will be partially closed for eight weeks, as the four bridges will be repaired one at a time.

The road closures will take place between late 2015 and the spring 2016, when the project is scheduled to be completed, according to Caltrain.

The transit agency addressed the bridge replacements at a recent community meeting at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center in San Mateo, where some residents expressed concerns, including construction noise, bicycle access during road closures and residential fence damage as a result of the work.

Kitto acknowledged that Caltrain crews will be "turning your neighborhood near the tracks into a construction zone," but he assured those concerned that workers would attempt to mitigate damage and disturbances as much as possible.

Residents will have pedestrian access to their homes during all road closures, Kitto said, and at least one pedestrian lane and one vehicular lane will be open to through traffic during partial road closures.

The new bridges will be constructed alongside the existing bridges, and the new structures will be "rolled into" the existing areas once construction is complete, Kitto explained. The "rolling in" of the new bridges is expected to take approximately two days.

In addition to updating the bridges for seismic safety, the height of the tracks will also be raised, contributing to the project timeline, Kitto noted. The track raising requires the construction of a retaining wall and a new fence. Vegetation has already been removed along the tracks in order to prepare for the fence installation.

For information, http://www.caltrain.com/projectsplans/Projects/Caltrain_Capital_Program/San_Mateo_Bridges_Replacement_Project.html

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Emilie Mutert

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