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San Francisquito Creek Flood Protection Project: SF Bay to Highway 101

Providing creek flood protection to more than 5,700 homes and businesses in Palo Alto, Menlo Park and East Palo Alto. 

Updated December 19, 2017

Construction progress

The construction of flood protection features along San Francisquito Creek that began last summer continues with major work elements installed, including floodwalls and a significantly wider creek marsh plain. We are continuing work outside the creek channel near Friendship Bridge through February 2, 2018. Construction activities within the creek channel will take place from June through October 2018, with construction completion scheduled for early 2019.

Long-term closures of creekside trails in effect:
All trails on both sides of the creek from East Bayshore Road to Friendship Bridge will be closed through February 2, 2018.

Construction work continues on the San Francisquito Creek channel between Highway 101 and the Bay. With the goal of completing construction of the entire project as soon as possible, we are maximizing the window in which we are permitted to work due to the presence of endangered species. Thus, the closures of trails shown on the map below are being extended until February 2, 2018 for public safety during construction. Starting on February 3, 2018, all trails are expected to reopen for a few months until construction is again allowed within the creek channel. Additional information affecting trail closures will be shared once it becomes available.

These trail closures are continuous and the trails will not be reopened after the work day or on the weekends for safety. During this time, the trails will be removed for the construction activities and replaced upon completion. We understand how difficult the trail and bridge closures are on bicycle commuters, and are evaluating possible short term openings if it is safe to do so. Be the first to know about changes to trail closures by signing up for project email updates (see link on right).

Please follow all trail closure signage and fencing. The closures are for your safety while the contractor operates heavy machinery and moves equipment along the creek. Only authorized construction personnel are allowed on site.

The alternate routes are designated by the cities of Palo Alto and East Palo Alto. Map is not to scale.

Please note that construction on East Bayshore Road has been completed by Caltrans.
SFC trail map 12.19.17

Note: This closure information based on construction activity is current as of December 2017. As new information becomes available, we will send additional updates.

Thanks for your patience
We appreciate your understanding during construction. We are working with the contractor to minimize impacts as much as practical and provide as much advance notice as possible.

We will continue to share new information on the website and with the email subscriber list.


Project summary

The San Francisquito Creek Joint Powers Authority (SFCJPA) is leading a project to protect East Palo Alto and Palo Alto from flooding along San Francisquito Creek between San Francisco Bay and U.S. Highway 101. These communities are at high risk of severe flooding from flows coming down the creek, particularly during high tides. Improving this stretch of about one and a half miles of San Francisquito Creek constitutes the necessary first step in an overall plan to provide more than 5,700 homes and businesses with 100-year creek flood protection during extreme tides and after sea levels rise two feet. Visit for comprehensive information on the project and adjoining projects related to the creek and Bay shoreline protection, restoration and trail enhancement.

Project specifics and timeline

Design 2010-2016



Construction 2016-2019

Construction began in June 2016 and is expected to be complete in early 2019, with most of the work limited to June through January to protect endangered species in the area.

The San Francisco Bay to Highway 101 project includes excavating decades of sediment build up in the channel, new floodwalls where private property constrains the channel, widening the channel by building a new levee through the Palo Alto Golf Course, and rebuilding the existing levee adjacent to East Palo Alto homes. 

The following activities have been or are nearing completion:

  • Install approximately 2,800 feet of steel sheet pile floodwall along the south side of the creek between Geng Road and East Bayshore Road in Palo Alto.
  • Install approximately 2,000 feet of steel sheet pile floodwall along the north side of the creek between Daphne Way and East Bayshore Road in East Palo Alto.
  • Increase the creek flow capacity by widening the creek and creating new marshland, and excavate sediment within the creek channel
  • Construct a new, safer PG&E gas transmission pipeline and East Palo Alto Sanitary District sewer line under the creek

The following activities are in progress and upcoming:

  • Import soil and build portions of the new levees.
  • Work on the Friendship Bridge extension.
  • Install environmental enhancements within Faber Marsh.
  • Plan for the in-channel work that will begin in June 2018.

*Note: These are the projected activities based on the contractor's current schedule and may change throughout the course of the year.

What to expect during construction 

The SFCJPA and Water District are working to minimize construction impacts as much as practical and in accordance with permit requirements and city ordinances. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation as we construct this important flood protection project.

  • Construction work hours are Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and occasional Saturday work only if needed. 
  • Majority of construction work will be conducted in and along the creek, within the project’s right of way.
  • No road closures are expected, but may occur only if needed
    and as minimal as possible.
  • Expect typical construction noise during work hours from heavy equipment, such as sheet pile installation rig, excavators, concrete trucks and hauling trucks.
  • A water truck will spray the work area to control any dust from construction activities.
  • Generators may be used to pump water around the project site and back into the creek further downstream.
  • The contractor will store equipment and materials at the O’Connor Pump Station, next to the creek at Verbena Drive and next to the Palo Alto Golf Course at Geng Road.

Traffic impacts and access

  • On the East Palo Alto side of the creek near the O’Connor Pump Station, the Bay Trail/San Francisquito Creek Trail will be intermittently closed as needed during construction. The trail between East Bayshore Road and O’Connor Street will be closed through February 2, 2018.
  • On the Palo Alto side, the Bay Trail/San Francisquito Creek Trail will be closed from East Bayshore Road to Friendship Bridge through February 2, 2018.
  • Signs will be posted in advance of a trail closure and alternate routes will be offered whenever possible.

The contractor will access the creek work areas at various locations. Some street parking may be restricted intermittently along the designated access routes.

  • On the Palo Alto side, the access locations are at East Bayshore Road, Laura Lane and Geng Road.
  • On the East Palo Alto side, the access locations are at Verbena Drive, Daphne Way and O’Connor Street.

Safety first

The safety of the community and our employees is our priority. Only construction personnel are authorized in the construction areas. Clear and prominent construction site signs are installed around the project work area. Traffic control or flaggers may be needed at times during work for safety. Water District inspectors will be on site to monitor the contractors and ensure all protocols and ordinances are followed.

Public meetings and notices


Recent public meetings or notices

July 12, 2017 Construction notice: Friendship Bridge closure and night work (English/Spanish)
May 17, 2017 Email update #9: New trail closures start May 22 and June 1
May 17, 2017 Construction notice mailed to surrounding properties (English/Spanish)
April 21, 2017 Email update #8: Trail closures start April 24
Oct. 17, 2016 Email update #7: Trails closed on 10/18
Sept. 29, 2016 Email update #6: Trails open on Thurs 9/29
Sept. 20, 2016 Email update #5: Trails closed on Thurs 9/22
Sept. 15, 2016 Email update #4: Trails reopen on Fri 9/16
Sept. 12, 2016 Email update #3: Trail closures during the week of 9/12

Sept. 1, 2016

Email update #2: Construction underway and trail closures  

Aug. 5, 2016

Groundbreaking ceremony at Friendship Bridge, East Palo Alto

July 14, 2016

Pre-construction meeting at East Palo Alto City Hall

June 30, 2016

Email update #1: Construction begins in June 2016

June 29, 2016

June 22, 2016 Presentation to the Crescent Park Neighborhood Association

Funding partnership

The total estimated cost of the San Francisco Bay to Highway 101 Project is approximately $41.35 million. The project is a partnership among the SFCJPA and its member agencies: the Santa Clara Valley Water District ($28 million), SFCJPA ($11.86 million in grants from the California Department of Water Resources), City of East Palo Alto ($1.26 million), San Mateo County Flood Control District ($2.06 million), City of Menlo Park ($0.8 million) and City of Palo Alto ($0.4 million).

The Water District will administer and manage the construction of levees and floodwalls. The SFCJPA has contracts with PG&E and the East Palo Alto Sanitary District to relocate and improve major utilities, and with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, nonprofits and private firms to protect endangered species and enhance their habitat.

Use Access Valley Water to submit questions, complaints or compliments directly from your computer or smart phone to a water district staff person who can help you.




Project Quick Look

Construction Start Summer 2016
Construction Finish 2018
Location Palo Alto and East Palo Alto
Status Construction

Reference Documents

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