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Menlo Park water line break floods Atherton Marsh Road channel rebuilding project

Project dried out and back on schedule, town says

Atherton's project to rebuild the drainage channel along Marsh Road was flooded with water early Saturday morning, July 9, when a water line in Menlo Park broke and took several hours to repair, Atherton City Engineer Mary Grace Houlihan said.

By Tuesday morning, however, the channel had been drained and dried out and, perhaps most important to the drivers who are detouring around the closed section of road, the road is still on schedule to reopen by Aug. 13. The contractor, Granite Construction, put on extra crews to catch up, Ms. Houlihan said.

"We're back on track," she said. The contractor "understands the importance of getting the road back open on schedule."

Ms. Houlihan said crews from the Menlo Park Municipal Water District "did all the things they were supposed to do" after the water line break, including dechlorinating the escaped water.

Ms. Houlihan said she is impressed with how the contractor and the town have managed to deal with a number of complications thrown into the project. In May, she said, the West Bay Sanitary District asked the town if the district could rebuild its sewer trunk line that runs down the middle of Marsh Road while the road was closed.

The town quickly worked out a deal with the district and Granite Construction to add the $650,000 project into the town's contract. The sanitary district scrambled to draw up plans, and to get approval for the project and a reimbursement deal with Atherton.

"This is inter-agency cooperation at its best," Ms. Houlihan said. She also gave the contractor a lot of credit for adding on the sewer line work without extending the project's schedule. "The project will still be done on time, and we will avoid a second closure of Marsh Road," she said.

The ability to pull the amended project together so quickly "says a lot about this community," Ms. Houlihan said. "It has taken a lot to orchestrate that." Sewer line construction will begin around July 25, she said.

Ms. Houlihan said she is also very happy that the tree canopy along Marsh Road has been protected. "It's going to be really nice at the end of the day," she said. "Hopefully Marsh Road will be in good shape for a good long time."

Construction hours for the project are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Motorists must use detours, including Woodside Road, 5th Avenue, Ringwood Avenue and Willow Road to get around the construction.

The town is replacing a deteriorating stone and concrete drainage channel with a cast-in-place concrete culvert. In addition to draining water from much of Atherton and neighboring communities, the culvert acts as a retaining wall on Marsh Road.

The project also involves replacing a chain link fence with a steel guard rail. The fence had proved ineffective at keeping errant motorists from plunging into the channel.

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