Valley Water provides flood protection to homes, businesses, schools and highways. As part of our commitment, Valley Water will replace the existing aging Palo Alto Flood Basin (PAFB) Tide Gate structure. The 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. Originally built in 1957, 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 structure will be sized to account for projected future sea level rise. The PAFB Tide Gate Structure controls the downstream water levels for Matadero, Adobe and Barron Creeks, which all drain to the PAFB. Upon completion, the new structure will provide significant flood protection benefits to Palo Alto homes, businesses and schools near Matadero, Adobe and Barron creeks, and US Highway 101, and will continue to protect wildlife and habitat in the PAFB.
Friday, March 13, 2020 – PUBLIC TOUR CANCELLED
Following guidance from public health officials, the public tour on Friday, March 13, 2020, has been cancelled.
A web-based virtual tour and informational project update meeting will be hosted in the spring.
Because staff and information resources are being adjusted in response to shelter-in-place requirements, Valley Water is postponing the web-based public meeting, originally planned for Tuesday, April 14, 2020. This webinar will be rescheduled for later in the spring of 2020.
The planned webinar will present a short video of the Palo Alto Flood Basin Tide Gate Structure, a presentation about the project, and provide attendees an opportunity to ask questions. The webinar will also be recorded and made available on the project webpage on the Valley Water website. Details about the webinar will be made available soon. RSVPs are encouraged. [email protected]
What to expect
Construction to replace the PAFB Tide Gate Structure is anticipated to start in September 2021. Construction activities will occur between the months of September and January, to avoid impacts to nesting birds. Work will occur from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. The project is expected to be completed by the end of January 2025.
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 comply with trail detour signs and take caution when using the trail.
Expected trail detour during construction.
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.
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.