- Dear Stakeholders in the North Hills, Rockridge and Temescal neighborhoods,
You are receiving this message because you have expressed an interest in the City of Oakland’s process for identifying and implementing projects funded with Caldecott Tunnel Fourth Bore settlement funds. The attached letter provides an update on the status of projects prioritized by the community in 2011 and invites you to submit public comments before the deadline of 5:00 PM on December 6, 2013.
Oakland Caldecott project coordinator
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Dear Stakeholders in the North Hills, Rockridge and Temescal neighborhoods,
You are receiving this letter because you expressed an interest in the City of Oakland’s process of implementing projects funded with Caldecott Tunnel Fourth Bore settlement funds. This update provides a status on projects prioritized by the community in 2011 and invites you to submit public comments before the deadline 0f 5:00 PM on December 6. 2013.
Status of projects
City staff and consultants are well into designing many of the highest ranking projects on the Caldecott Settlement project list and now have a much better idea of true costs than they did at the conceptual stage. Unfortunately, as project designs have become more detailed, corresponding cost estimates have grown from the initial costs used to develop the list. Until we receive bids for construction, we will not know the actual cost of any of the projects. The original project list with current estimated costs was recently prepared (attached). Many factors contributed to cost escalation, including:
- Projects 1-3 and 6 require more/taller retaining walls than originally envisioned.
- As the economy has improved in the past few years, construction costs have also escalated.
- Caltrans’s design standards have changed since the projects were first designed, now requiring wider (and thus more expensive) sidewalks and bike lanes.
- Caltrans has added the cost of their oversight -estimated at $150,000 per study -to the price tag of each sound wall study (Projects 7 and 8).
Matching funds from other sources could help offset some of these overruns. The City is identifying and applying for grants to help fund some projects on the list, but these funds are limited to capital improvements (not planning/studies) near BART stations and other transit lines. In addition, the Fourth Bore Coalition is considering helping to fund one or more of the projects from other sources. Beyond looking to outside funding sources, the only way to ensure that as many projects as possible are built is to consider adjusting the scope of some projects, where practical.
Public meeting and comment period
City staff and Council member Dan Kalb’s office hosted a public meeting on October 17 to discuss the Caldecott project status and solicit public comment through December 6. An accompanying article in the Rockridge News (http://bit.ly/caldecott-over) and the meeting invitation/viewgraphs (http://bit.ly/oct-17-mtg) highlighted some issues raised since the release of the updated project list:
1. Project #1: Tunnel Rd/SR-13/Hiller Dr. intersection improvements. This project includes:
- a new sidewalk with associated retaining wall on the south/west side of Tunnel Road between the existing traffic signal and the existing Berkeley sidewalk ($680,000) roadway/bike lane realignment and pedestrian crossing at the existing light ($840,000).
- New information: The estimated cost of this project has climbed from $950,000 to over $1.5 million, primarily due to better information about the amount of retaining wall needed to construct the sidewalk portion of the project. Furthermore, the City of Berkeley plans to install a pedestrian signal at Tunnel Road and The Uplands, which will allow pedestrians to cross Tunnel Road safely. Also, in 2014, Caltrans will clear all sidewalk obstructions and rebuild a section of sidewalk on the east/north side of Tunnel Road between Hiller Drive and Vicente Road, so pedestrians will have a continuous east/north sidewalk allowing pedestrian access between the hills and west/south of Tunnel Road.
2. Project #6: Jogging/Walking Path on Broadway from Golden Gate to Lake Temescal. This project includes:
- pathway improvements to the existing to rock/dirt path, including a disaggregated granite resurface and new retaining walls ($450,000)
- safe crossings of Broadway at Golden Gate A venue and Lake Temescal to allow persons with disabilities to access the existing sidewalk on the north side of Broadway ($100,000).
- New information: The estimated cost of this project has grown from $275,000 to $550,000, primarily due to better estimates of the cost of retaining walls called for in the original design. Upon closer investigation, City staff feels that the retaining walls are not needed, and disturbing the existing jogging path will destabilize and make it more prone to damaging storm water runoff. Instead, staff recommends that Caltrans, neighbors and the City work together to better maintain the area by cleaning the drainage ditch and pruning trees along the pathway. Unfortunately, Caldecott funds are not eligible for maintenance.
3. Projects #7 and 8: SR-24 Noise Barrier Scope Summary Reports, including:
- study soundwalls eastbound between Vicente Way and Broadway ($704,000)
- study soundwalls westbound between Ross St. and Telegraph Ave. ($778,000)
- New Information: Since the original costs were estimated, the City has gained a better understanding of costs and scope of each soundwall study, and the likelihood of the ultimate construction of these soundwall segments. Recent changes in Caltrans procedure caused the projected cost of the studies to rise by $300,000, from a total of $1,182,000 to $1,482,000. Furthermore, these studies do not guarantee construction, and construction funding will be extremely difficult to impossible to come by. These projects would ultimately have to be prioritized by Oakland, the County, the region and the state over other major highway projects, including highway safety projects and soundwalls on 1-580 in Oakland with studies dating back 30 years.
Public Comments Accepted Until 12/6/13
Public comments on any aspect of the attached project list will be accepted through Friday 12/6/13 at 5pm. Please send them to email@example.com. Feel free to email or call Victoria at 510-525-0220 with any questions. Thank you for your interest in Oakland’s Caldecott projects.
Wladimir Wlassowsky. P.E.
Transportation Services Division Manager