Caltrain is ready to hit the next milestone for its grade separation project in San Bruno. Like most of the construction so far, it will be a difficult one for residents.
The next phase of the project will be the construction of the temporary train tracks, which Caltrain will use to operate trains while the rest of the grade separation is completed.
But beginning Wednesday, several streets near downtown will be closed to allow for the temporary tracks, known as a shoofly, to be installed, which means residents will face traffic delays for up to a week.
“This is a safety improvement project,” project manager Rafael Bolon told residents gathered at a community meeting today at Belle Air Elementary in explaining the upcoming street closures. “The project is being done for everybody who uses these crossings.”
Caltrain officials spent most of the meeting explaining what will take place over the next week and answering residents’ questions.
From Huntington Avenue to First Avenue, Angus Avenue will be closed from 8 p.m. Wednesday to 4 a.m. Jan. 18. San Mateo Avenue will be closed, from Huntington Avenue to San Bruno Avenue, from 11 p.m. Friday to 4 a.m. Jan. 16. San Bruno Avenue will be closed from Huntington Avenue to San Mateo Avenue from 11 p.m. Friday to 4 a.m. Sunday.
That means all three crossings will be closed on Saturday. Officials said drivers and pedestrians will be redirected down Huntington to cross at Scott Street if they want to get to the east side of town. Larger vehicles will be directed to use South Linden Avenue.
The pending traffic closures raised all sorts of concerns for some residents at the meeting. Some residents wanted to know how the closures would affect emergency vehicles.
Both the police and fire chiefs said response times would increase slightly if an emergency occurred but that both departments were making preparations to ensure service wasn’t compromised.
Residents also wanted to know whether the upcoming construction would have an increased impact on their homes.
In addition to installing the shoofly, crews will be driving sets of piles at each of the three crossings at San Bruno, San Mateo and Angus avenues. Bolon said residents would experience most of the discomfort from that work. Not only will trains be 20 feet closer to homes on First Avenue, but the pile driving will be constantly loud as well.
However, Caltrain will be restricting pile driving work to daytime hours, Bolon said.
The project also includes three pedestrian underpasses, one near Sylvan Avenue, one at the new station between San Bruno and San Mateo avenues, and another between Euclid Avenue and Walnut Street.
The $145 million grade separation project is now expected to be completed by summer 2013, a year later than planned because of weather and construction delays during the last year.