What is the purpose of this project?
The City of Sunnyvale (City) is planning to rehabilitate the Fair Oaks Bridge by widening the bridge deck to bring roadway and shoulder widths up to current design standards and improve pedestrian and bicycle facilities. The rehabilitated bridge will retain a total of four travel lanes for cars, but will be widened to allow for the addition of a standard-sized sidewalk and wider-than-existing bicycle lanes.
In addition, the project includes improvements at the intersections where the bridge touches down at Kifer Road and at Eveyln Avenue. The project may also include enhancements to Hendy Avenue that will improve mobility under the bridge.
Why is this project being considered?
Spanning the Caltrain tracks and East Hendy Avenue, the Fair Oaks Bridge was constructed in 1967 to accommodate vehicular traffic on Fair Oaks Avenue. The bridge is regularly inspected by Caltrans and maintained by the City of Sunnyvale.
The structure is listed on the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Eligible Bridge List (EBL) for rehabilitation work and funding. Significant maintenance and repair would eventually be needed if the bridge remains in service without the planned rehabilitation. The project will widen the bridge deck to bring roadway and shoulder widths up to current design standards and improve pedestrian and bicycle facilities. The project will enhance bridge safety and accessibility, and bring the bridge up to current design standards.
Has the final project design already been approved?
Yes. The City Council certified an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and approved preliminary bridge rehabilitation plan drawings in March 2015.
Who is working on this project and what are their roles?
The City of Sunnyvale is the project sponsor and lead agency for purposes of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Because the City will receive federal funding for the project, it is also subject to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Working together, the City and Caltrans will prepare a single, joint environmental document intended to satisfy both CEQA and NEPA requirements.
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How is this project being funded?
Current funding for the project is $20 million. Approximately 88.5 percent of these funds are through the Highway Bridge Program (HBP) with the remaining 11.5 percent to come from local City funds once the project is approved. Project funding includes $2.9 million for preliminary engineering, $2.5 million for right-of-way work, and $14.75 million for construction.
What types of impacts to the surrounding area will be considered?
A number of technical studies will be conducted to examine such issues as air quality, noise, visual, hydrology/water quality, geotechnical, and natural resource impacts. In addition, issues such as community character, growth and land use impacts will be reviewed. Because the rehabilitated bridge will be functionally similar to the existing bridge with no increase in vehicle capacity, potential environmental impacts are anticipated to be limited primarily to the construction period.
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Who will decide if this project moves forward?
A Preliminary Environmental Study (PES) was completed in July 2010 as the first step to determine the level of environmental review needed for the project. The public, as well as State and local agencies, had the opportunity to comment on the proposed project when the draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) was circulated for public review in September 2014. Other opportunities for public comment included a project scoping meeting held in May 2013 and a public meeting held in February 2014. The City Council certified an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and approved preliminary bridge rehabilitation plan drawings for the project in March 2015.
What happens next?
The City held a public meeting in February 2014 to provide a project update and information about anticipated next steps in the environmental review, project approval, and construction processes. The draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and preliminary bridge design were released for public review and comment in September 2014. The City Council certified an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and approved preliminary bridge rehabilitation plan drawings for the project in March 2015.
The project design begun in 2012 and was completed in 2017. CEQA Council certified the Environmental Impact Report in March 2015. Right of Way negotiations and acquisitions begun in March 2016 and were completed in March 2019. Caltrans issued the construction authorization in August, 2019. Advertising for the bids started in September 2019 and is underway. The bid opening will be in October 2019. The construction will start in December 2019 or January 2020 and is expected to continue for a period of 16 months, weather allowing.
The City’s goal is to maintain one travel lane and one bike lane in each direction during this time. However, some short-term lane closures may be required. In addition, the Hendy Avenue underpass area will be closed during early construction phases (approximately 8-10 months) to help expedite the overall construction schedule. Pedestrian access over the Caltrain corridor will be maintained until bridge construction is complete.
What other infrastructure projects are happening in the area?
The Hendy Street Improvements Project to reconstruct Hendy Avenue from Sunnyvale Avenue to the Fair Oaks Avenue Bridge has been completed.
A project to place the overhead utilities along Fair Oaks Avenue, between Evelyn Avenue and El Camino Real underground has been completed.
How can I stay informed or get involved?
Conducting an open project review process that provides multiple opportunities for community involvement is a key goal of the project. Public meetings were held to provide information, answer questions, and receive community feedback during the project development and environmental review process. These meetings were widely publicized in the community and members of the public were encouraged to attend. In addition to meetings, there was a formal public review period for the draft environmental document during which the community was encouraged to review the draft and provide written comments and input.
Will the Fair Oaks Bridge remain open during construction?
Yes. Although temporary lane reductions will be a periodic necessity, the City intends to keep portions of the bridge operational throughout bridge construction.
Will the Fair Oaks Pedestrian Overcrossing remain open during construction?
Yes, except when public safety related to ongoing construction requires its closure.