Traffic alert: Major water main replacement project in Menlo Park

Construction expedited to coincide with sidewalk installation on Santa Cruz Avenue

The California Water Service company will soon begin a months-long project to replace 3,875 feet of water main on Santa Cruz Avenue between Olive Street (near Hillview Middle School) and University Drive.

The project is tentatively set to begin the first week of August and take 50 to 75 work days, or 10 to 15 weeks, to complete, according to Dawn Smithson, manager of Cal Water's Bear Gulch District.

Construction will be done by West Valley Construction, which will work from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

During construction, one lane of Santa Cruz Avenue will be closed and there will be no parking allowed on both sides of the street during working hours, according to Ms. Smithson.

A 6-inch cast iron main will be replace with a 12-inch iron ductile main. The location of the main would move from the side of the street to the middle, Ms. Smithson said.

The project will take place a couple of years earlier than it otherwise might have because of Menlo Park's project to install sidewalks and storm drains along that stretch of Santa Cruz Avenue, she said. The water main is somewhat in the way of the proposed sidewalk installations.

The water main stretches over half a mile and passes homes, businesses and cross-streets, each of which has water connections that will have to be disconnected and reconnected when the new main is installed.

Residents will receive notice 24 hours in advance of when their water service will be disrupted. Water shutoffs should not last more than two hours, but it is a good idea to fill containers or a bathtub before water is turned off, Ms. Smithson said.

The current water mains the water district uses are "small and old, and water doesn't flow through them as easily," she said.

Breaks in Menlo Park Cal Water water mains were reported by the Almanac in December 2015, and in January and February 2016.

Each day, trenches will be back-filled with temporary asphalt, and permanent asphalt will be replaced when the project is done, she said.

When the water main is fully replaced, Ms. Smithson said, the main is expected to be less likely to break and will allow the fire department to extract more water from hydrants quickly at times of emergency.

What is democracy worth to you?
Support local journalism.


Like this comment
Posted by Dave Rahn
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 22, 2016 at 12:24 pm

long overdue. Glad to see it happening.

Dave Rahn

3 people like this
Posted by Dan Hilberman
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 22, 2016 at 1:25 pm

Water main replacement final asphalt should be monitored for smoothness. When the sewer line was replaced, the final asphalt was very bumpy yet the township said it met specifications. University drive section felt like a dirt washboard road.

5 people like this
Posted by Timing
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 22, 2016 at 3:01 pm

Too bad they could not have planned this project for just summer months. This area will be a nightmare for people getting to and from Hillview and will impact the routes people take to/from M-A.

2 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 22, 2016 at 3:21 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

The new main will be ductile iron pipe, not "iron ductile pipe."

7 people like this
Posted by Watching the idiots
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jul 22, 2016 at 3:22 pm

So, this non emergency project which has a duration of about a summer break is being allowed to begin as the school year starts. Brilliant! How about some planning folks? ONE LANE on SANTA CRUZ starting at 8am ending at 4:30pm? Nicely aligned to maximize the pain for people getting to and from Hillview. So what is already a 40 minute+ round trip from the Willows will be what and hour? More?


3 people like this
Posted by repave the road
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 23, 2016 at 11:24 am

Will the crown be lowered and the surface repaved? This is a prime opportunity to fix the overly high crown and gain a smooth surface again. The paving should ONLY be the kind that reduces noise, as was originally put in place 10+/- years ago but has been patched many many times since. The city has a surplus. This is the kind of opportunity that doesn't come around often. Do it right

Like this comment
Posted by Katherine Arthurs
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Dec 2, 2016 at 10:49 pm

Anyone have any idea when the bad taste in the water will disapate? It just started this past week. And seems to be all over town. I live close to Alameda de las Pulgas and I noticed the taste at a downtown restaurant as well.

Just awful, even filtering does not help. Terrible "mossy" taste.

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Atherton: West of Alameda

on Sep 25, 2017 at 8:43 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

All your news. All in one place. Every day.

After experiencing harassment, owner of Zareen's restaurants speaks out about Islamophobia, racism
By Elena Kadvany | 28 comments | 7,630 views

Don't Miss Your Exit (and other lessons from an EV drive)
By Sherry Listgarten | 15 comments | 2,518 views

Goodbye Food Waste!
By Laura Stec | 8 comments | 2,468 views

Good News: The New Menlo Park Rail Subcommittee Hits A Home Run
By Dana Hendrickson | 12 comments | 1,643 views

Premarital and Couples: Tips for Hearing (Listening) and Being Known
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,050 views


Register today!

On Friday, October 11, join us at the Palo Alto Baylands for a 5K walk, 5K run, 10K run or half marathon! All proceeds benefit local nonprofits serving children and families.

Learn More