Highway 1 Bridge Detour; Tunnel Traffic Safety Hazards
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Caltrans: Highway 1 Bridge Detour Until October 2015

California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has begun detouring Highway 1 traffic via San Pedro Avenue, south of Linda Mar Boulevard in Pacifica.

As part of the San Pedro Creek Bridge Replacement Project, this detour allows construction crews to begin work in the creek and to construct access to the creek.

Pedestrians have access along San Pedro Avenue facing Pedro Point Shopping Center. Pedestrian traffic south of Linda Mar Boulevard is no allowed east of the old bridge.  

Southbound: Traffic continues to Highway 1 by making a right turn on San Pedro Road at the intersection with Linda Mar Boulevard, and then merging back into Highway 1 southbound up the hill to Devil's Slide. 

Northbound: Traffic coming downhill from Devil’s Slide continues on San Pedro Avenue to the intersection with Highway 1 and Linda Mar Boulevard, turning left to get back onto Highway 1 northbound or going straight onto Linda Mar Boulevard. 

Changeable message signs help guide motorists through the detour. This project ends October 2015 (weather permitting). Road conditions and other info:

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I have lived on San Pedro Creek for four years. I have witnessed the fish migrating every year, but not this year. Last year I saw four at different times, just by chance. This year I have spent a lot of time watching for them at the usual time of migration, and right after a heavy rain. Still nothing, and no fish of any kind or size, including no young offspring. And if we do not get any more rain in the next few months, don't expect to see any at all. So why isn't Caltrans working on the project when there can't be a migration because of lack of rain?

This traffic diversion has added a half hour in each direction to an already lengthy commute for me on the weekend. It took 45 minutes to get from Montara through the construction area last weekend (approximately 4:30 in the afternoon) and trying to head south anytime after 10 a.m. is adding at a minimum a 20-minute delay. Is there anything that can be done (e.g., two lanes heading south instead of one?) to help ease this congestion? Better signage for the tourists (of which there are many) so there isn't the lane blockages while they are trying to merge in late? It seems that the two lanes turning left are mostly empty, yet the line of traffic turning right is backed up to Sea Bowl. Please rethink your lane configurations; the thought of having to deal with this for the next year is overwhelming, to say the least.

If the new bridge was not twice as wide as it needs to be for two lanes plus bike/walking shoulder, would it take less time to build? Would it be less costly? Would the impacts on the creek be less?

Due to environmental concerns, active construction on the bridge is restricted to six months out of the year (mid-April through mid-October). Read about these concerns and more about the project here:


"It's a public works project to provide jobs and profit to those who get the contracts."

Given the long projected completion time for the little bridge at Pedro Point, I think we may conclude the same for that project as well. How is it that such a small bridge would take two years?

Caltrans hasn't said how long it would close lanes on Highway 1 during the widening, has it?
I wonder how people will get around then, especially during commute times, with one or more lanes closed at a time for an indefinite period of construction.

The whole premise of the widening, of course, is that harried, hurried commuters should be able to continue to drive solo and find nothing but open lanes ahead.

The widening is not about traffic relief or safety. It's a public works project to provide jobs and profit to those who get the contracts.

Chris Fogel is correct: Listen to consultant Brandon Davis, professional engineer with Wilsey Ham, which engineered the design for the new bridge, talk about "up to 30 seconds of additional wait time (caused by the detour)," at the Feb. 19 public meeting, starTing at 21:45 in this video link:


Picture of the Saturday backup heading south is on Riptide here: http://www.pacificariptide.com/pacifica_riptide/2014/07/community-consensus-caltrans-pedro-point-detour-sucks.html

I drove south on Sunday about 6:00 and saw the backup headed north that Carl May noted. It started at the new Pedro Point light and went up the hill, through the tunnel, past Grey Whale Cove, and all the way down to Montara beach–-a barely moving line of bumper-to-bumper cars. And just after the Linda Mar light, heading north, very little traffic. It's all caused by that one new light and the single lane of traffic up to the Linda Mar intersection.

Chris Fogel points out that at the February 19 meeting, Caltrans said its computer modeling showed that the traffic delay would be no more than 30 seconds. We can't trust anything Caltrans says, especially when it comes to how widening the highway (and creating two new merges at either end) will somehow reduce traffic congestion. Imagine the delays during construction, not just in the morning commute, but all day, every day, for years on end.

Bad backup heading south on Friday (!) this past weekend. Sunday backup heading north at 5:30 p.m. started just north of Montara State Beach and went at a crawl (just shy of 30 minutes for roughly four miles) all the way to the offending lights.

Yes, a la David Chang, there are obvious adjustments to be made to both sets of lights that would be improvements even if they would not solve the entire problem. Why weren't they made several weeks ago? Why am I getting reds at the new southernmost set of signals in the wee hours of the morning with no other vehicles in the area? (This hardly improves my mood after middle-of-the-night delays for several years during the over-built tunnels scam.) How can anyone look at this road-widening project in the guise of a bridge replacement and have any confidence that Caltrans knows what it is talking about on traffic management in Pacifica or would conduct anything but a traffic-clotted fiasco in the much larger and more complicated Vallemar-Rockaway widening project?

But they are in the salmon family.

HA! When it matters to them (Caltrans) regarding traffic delays, they will say anything to get their way. If ever a department of transportation needed adult supervision, it's our Caltrans.

Steelhead and salmon have similar spawning patterns and belong to the same genus (Oncorhynchus) but are different species.

Not to be picky, John, but steelhead are not salmon. They are trout and the same species as rainbow trout, but they migrate to the ocean then return to fresh water to spawn. http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/salmon/steelhead.html

I hope Caltrans would be required by Fish & Wildlife to not impede the fish during spawning.

As the headline on this original post indicates, Caltrans claims a finish date of October 2015, but knowing how these things go, it very well could slip into 2016, so this fishy business is of concern. Thanks to our ever-vigilant environmentalist friend Jay Bird for speaking up for the steelhead. FYI, San Pedro Creek is a real spawning and migrating ground for steelhead salmon. If you look closely at certain times of the year, you can see their silvery backs in the water.

For those who don't know it, the Caltrans office is in a trailer at the east end of the Linda Mar park-and-ride lot. I have found it useful on several occasions to walk in there and talk live with a traffic engineer. They are very friendly. In fact, I got the impression that they were kind of surprised and pleased to have a visit from a member of the public.

Reminder: At the February 19 informational meeting at the Community Center, Caltrans reps stated that their computer modeling demonstrated that the delay for traffic along Highway 1 would be no more than 30 seconds.

At the risk of stating the obvious:

The southernmost light (near Ace Hardware) is the chokepoint. The cross-traffic from Pedro Point is relatively infrequent, but the light cycle seems to treat it as equal with the Highway 1 flow.

Similarly, the light at Linda Mar is still synchronized to accommodate cross-traffic between the normal Highway 1 x Linda Mar Boulevard, resulting in southbound cars having a red light when cars are turning north from Linda Mar to Highway 1.

I don't think refining the light timing will totally solve the problem, especially on busy weekends. But it might make the weekday commutes (morning and evening) smoother through the area.

It seems odd that it would take so long -- estimated completion sometime in 2016. That's a lot of time for steelhead not to be able to access the creek; it almost certainly blocks their life cycle.

Traveled it twice this weekend between noon and 5, and traffic backups were horrific, especially southbound. Sent an email to Caltrans. This could be a very long two years of construction for us locals.

I am less concerned about the traffic congestion and more concerned about how dangerous this "new" and temporary intersection is coming off Devil's Slide. Injured persons should look to Caltrans and the city for this terrible configuration with very little warning before they arrive at it. I expect to see a lot of accidents.

CORRECTION: The original article states that pedestrians have access along San Pedro Avenue facing Pedro Point Shopping Center -- and the pedestrian traffic south of Linda Mar Boulevard is not allowed east of the old bridge.
Actually, the signs posted on both sides of the bridge state "PEDESTRIANS ONLY" and there are no signs in the area that prohibit or even restrict movement of pedestrians. Presumably, Pacificans on foot can check out the bridge progress and can walk or ride the paved creek trail that terminates at the bridge.

Yes, it was a release from the high school swimming pool that killed the fish. With all the urban impacts, this creek is hanging on by its fingernails for much of its length. Things are better at the ends, where the county park offers a degree of watershed and riparian habitat protection for several (but not all) tributaries and where modest wetland restoration is being attempted near the ocean. Along its course, there are probably hundreds of possibilities for innocent, ignorant, drastic mistakes like the release from the school pool.

Bridges cast shadows that can sometimes inhibit movement of fish and other animals beneath them, and the wider the bridge, the greater the concern. The shadow certainly prevents the establishment of natural riparian habitat where it falls. Doubt that this factor was looked at for the super-wide (multi-lane setup) replacement being built.


We caught silvers in that creek in the mid-'70s.

I don't believe that is correct, BB. I've been here for 35 years and followed this issue closely. The fish killed by pool dumping in the '80s were steelhead trout. Coho (silver salmon) have been gone from the creek for at least 60 years. The pool dumpings were a residential issue also. Never heard about Terra Nova.


Before the dumping of all the pool water from Terra Nova High School, which was a mistake by workers who released the water into the storm drain, San Pedro Creek had a nice run of silver (aka coho) salmon.

The chlorine from the pool water wiped out the whole run. I know that as part of the settlement the school district had to buy Eel River steelhead and stock them in the creek for a few years.

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