Traffic congestion ahead: Marsh Road closure starts this week

Road scheduled to be closed through Aug. 13

The planned 10-week closure of Marsh Road in Atherton began Tuesday, May 31, as the town starts construction on a replacement drainage culvert and a new steel barrier to keep cars out of the ditch.

Marsh Road will be narrowed to two lanes from the current four from Bay Road to Fair Oaks Avenue, allowing access for residents and local businesses only; one-way traffic will be allowed from Fair Oaks Avenue to Middlefield Road, but only for residents who have driveways on the street.

Signs will direct motorists to avoid Marsh Road by using Bay Road or Middlefield Road to get to Willow Road in Menlo Park, Woodside Road in Redwood City or 5th Avenue in Redwood City.

After June 21, with school out, signs will direct motorists to use Ringwood Avenue in Atherton and Menlo Park. Freeway signs will direct motorists to use Woodside Road and Willow Road.

A number of local nearby streets in Atherton and North Fair Oaks will be limited to local use only to deter cut-through traffic. Residents have been given placards to display on their cars and for the use of their visitors.

Four-way stops will be added at several intersections just off the detour route, with flaggers posted to check for placards. Vehicles without placards, but not bicyclists or pedestrians, will be told to turn around. Town officials said drivers can be ticketed for ignoring a flagger.

Flaggers will be posted at the intersections of Marsh Road and Fair Oaks Avenue during work hours and at the intersection of 15th Avenue and 18th Avenue.

Flaggers will also be stationed on Middlefield Road near Fair Oaks Lane to help bicyclists cross at high-use hours.

A number of streets will be closed to through traffic to stop motorists from cutting through, including Holbrook Lane, Palmer Lane, Oak Drive and San Benito, Placitas and Encina avenues in Atherton, plus sections of 6th through 18th avenues in North Fair Oaks.

The left-turn pocket to eastbound Marsh Road and the northbound Middlefield right turn to eastbound Marsh Road will be closed.

The town has allocated $4.2 million to pay for the project.

The town has a webpage about the project with updated information and maps of the detours. The web page also has contact information for project managers.

Construction hours will be 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. No work will take place on Sundays or holidays.

After hours, a single westbound lane will be open along Marsh Road for residents and others. "Wrong way" signs will be placed at the intersection of Middlefield and Marsh to prohibit eastbound Marsh Road traffic. A continuous raised concrete barrier will separate the single westbound lane from the construction zone.

The Atherton Police Department will patrol the neighborhoods affected by the detour and the California Highway Patrol has been contracted by the town for traffic control at Marsh Road and Fair Oaks Avenue during work hours for the first week.

Atherton has set up a special phone line for the Marsh Road project: (650) 847-4045.

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4 people like this
Posted by Jade Dahl
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on May 31, 2016 at 3:41 pm

The town of Atherton and construction company are not off to a great start as non-local, through traffic was flowing through the NFO neighborhood off of Marsh/Bay and Middlefield Road entrances with no flaggers (at Bay/Marsh as promised) and no police presence earlier today. Northbound traffic should be turning RIGHT at Florence and Marsh and NOT at Bay/Marsh.
Initial calls to Town and construction were less than satisfactory. I did get a call back a few minutes ago and was told that police are now patrolling and more flaggers have been added but "some people don't pay attention to signs".
Please - use the detours to Willow/5th/Woodside Roads!

3 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 31, 2016 at 3:45 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Any sign of actually work being done on Marsh?

Nothing will enrage people more than being diverted and then seeing that there is no work being done to justify the diversions.

Like this comment
Posted by Laurie
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on May 31, 2016 at 3:57 pm

I live on Fair Oaks and I have not received a resident's placard. Has anyone else received one?

4 people like this
Posted by Bea
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on May 31, 2016 at 4:16 pm


You probably received an envelope last Thursday containing placards but did not realize it because it was poorly designed. The envelope is addressed to "Current Resident," which is perfect. The return address is Granite Construction Company in Santa Clara.

There was no indication that the contents pertained to the Town of Atherton or the Marsh Road closure or the placards. A recipient might assume that it was a sales brochure for granite countertops or for residential remodeling (unless he or she is familiar with this large construction firm) and toss it unopened into the recycling bin.

It has two hangers for your rearview mirror and a half dozen blue squares of lightweight paper. Check your recycling before it goes out tomorrow morning. If you can't find any, ask neighbors if they have extras so you don't have to trek to Atherton Town Hall.

Like this comment
Posted by Laurie
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on May 31, 2016 at 4:44 pm

Thanks Bea. I think you are absolutely correct. I found a number to call and left a message with my address and request. I was very pleasantly surprised to receive a voicemail within half an hour from the lead engineer who indicated he left seven placards at my home under the door. It sounds like they are working out the details quite quickly.

13 people like this
Posted by Annoyed at Atherton
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Jun 1, 2016 at 5:17 pm

Getting from Suburban park to Encinal School in the morning is ridiculous. Too bad we can't use the public roads through Lindenwood to cut the detour distance by two thirds. I realize that would be a tremendous inconvenience to the people of Lindenwood, you know, to see cars driving on the public roads which are meant

No worries, I'll budget in an extra 30 minutes in the morning to stay off of Atherton streets for a project being done by the city of Atherton.

7 people like this
Posted by Disgruntled Commuter
a resident of another community
on Jun 2, 2016 at 6:08 pm

Getting from the East bay to work is bad enough without the closure of Marsh, let alone the inconvenient detours through Redwood City and Willow. My commute has increased by 30 minutes, and I am not the only one. All this because the rich people of Atherton can't stand the bourgeois utilizing public roads for their intended purpose? Come on.

Far be it from to drive on your gold-paved roads and disturb your morning coffee and crosswords by passing through. Don't you worry, I'll try my best not to drive through your neighborhoods with my music on full blast.

Like this comment
Posted by JimmyCanDo
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 11, 2016 at 9:49 pm

To "Annoyed At" and others. Nice of you to speak up about closing public roads TEMPORARLY to thru traffic during nearby construction - WHEN IT AFFECTS YOU - but you don't when other places like just down the road on Middlefield as it bends into Palo Alto there are permanent barriers and signs saying no thru traffic at all. Some of those public tax payer streets are even PERMANENTLY blocked off. Tax payer streets Blocked off....!! Oh but I'm sure you're a good man or woman - especially when it comes to yourself.

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