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Palo Alto Flood Basin Tide Gate Structure Improvement Project

About This Project

Valley Water is dedicated to keeping residents and businesses safe through its flood protection programs. As part of our commitment, Valley Water will replace the existing aging Palo Alto Flood Basin (PAFB) Tide Gate Structure. Upon completion, the new PAFB Tide Gate Structure will provide significant flood protection benefits to Matadero, Adobe and Barron creeks and protect wildlife and habitat in the PAFB. The PAFB Tide Gate Structure is located where the PAFB connects to the San Francisco Bay, half a mile northeast of the Byxbee Park parking lot on the Adobe Creek Loop Trail. The PAFB Gate Structure was originally built in 1957, and it has outlived its 50-year projected life. Additionally, the existing structure is vulnerable to projected future sea level rise, which reduces the tide gate’s ability to drain the flood basin. The new tide gate structure will be sized to account for projected future sea level rise. The tide gate structure controls the downstream water levels for Matadero, Adobe and Barron Creeks, which all drain to the PAFB. The tide gate structure is an important component of providing flood protection for residents along the lower reaches of Adobe, Barron, and Matadero Creeks and Highway 101.

Palo Alto Flood Basin Tide Gate Structure
Datapoints
Status
On Target
Phase
Planning
Location
Palo Alto
Schedule
Start September 2021/Finish January 2025
Funding
Watershed & Stream Stewardship Fund
News and UpdatesNews and Updates
Reports and DocumentsReports and Documents
Environmental and Community BenefitsEnvironmental and Community Benefits
History and BackgroundHistory and Background
News & Updates

Please join us for an informational community meeting to get an overview of the project and ask questions!

A public meeting to provide the community an overview of the project and to answer questions is tentatively scheduled for March 2020. Information will be posted once the date and location are confirmed.

What to expect

Construction to replace the PAFB Tide Gate Structure is anticipated to start in September 2021. Construction activities will occur between September and January, to avoid impacts to nesting birds. Work is expected to be completed by the end of January 2025. Work will occur from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Due to construction activities, including demolition and replacement of the tide gate structure, a portion of the Adobe Creek Loop Trail will be closed for the duration of the project. Residents and trail users should watch for trail detour signs and take caution when using the trail.

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Expected trail detour during construction.

For more information:

Environmental & Community Benefits

Environmental & Community Benefits

  • The PAFB Tide Gate Structure prevents flooding by keeping high tide waters out of the PAFB and controlling the downstream water levels of Matadero, Adobe and Barron Creeks, which all drain to the PAFB.
  • The PAFB tide gate structure is an important component of providing flood protection for residents along the lowers reaches of Adobe, Barron, and Matadero Creeks and Highway 101.
  • The PAFB Tide Gate Structure also protects habitat, including for sensitive wildlife, by preventing tidal inundation in the PAFB.
Palo Alto Flood Basin Tide Gate Structure
History & Background

History and Background

The PAFB Tide Gate Structure is located where the PAFB connects to the San Francisco Bay. The structure is located half a mile northeast of the Byxbee Park parking lot on the Adobe Creek Loop Trail. The structure was originally built in 1957, and has outlived its 50-year projected life. The structure controls the downstream water levels for Matadero, Adobe and Barron Creeks, which all drain to the PAFB.  The tide gate structure helps keep high tide waters out from the PAFB and allows it to empty out twice a day during low tides. The tide gate structure helps prevent flooding in the lower reaches of these creeks and inundation of wildlife habitats in the basin. The existing structure is vulnerable to projected future sea level rise, which reduces the tide gate’s ability to drain the flood basin. The new tide gate structure will be sized to account for projected future sea level rise.   

Due to its age and location in a corrosive marine environment, the tide gate structure shows signs of deterioration, including spalled concrete, exposed reinforcement steel, and water seepage through cracked concrete and leaky tide gate seals. Seepage was previously addressed by an emergency repair project in 2012. In 2017 Valley Water attempted minor maintenance repairs that would have extended the life of the structure. Construction was suspended when dewatering the work area revealed additional evidence of damage from aging.  Valley Water has determined that replacement of the structure, rather than repair, is warranted to ensure flood protection for residents along the lower reaches of Adobe, Barron and Matadero Creeks and Highway 101.  

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Emergency repair work on the Palo Alto Flood Basin Tide Gate in 2012