San Mateo street closures set for Caltrain upgrades

Commuters passing through San Mateo may find themselves in a traffic frenzy next week as Caltrain begins construction to replace the Park Avenue rail bridge, leading to road closures in the area.

The road closures will block motor and pedestrian access to Park Avenue along Ramona and Claremont streets, a high traffic passageway leading to U.S. Highway 101, according to Caltrain officials.

The closures will allow construction crews to demolish the Popular Avenue rail bridge and replace it with a new steel structure that meets current seismic safety standards, transit officials said.

The closures are expected to last up to eight weeks, with demolition of the rail bridge taking place the weekend of April 16.

The Park Avenue rail bridge is the last of four bridges, all of which were built more than 100 years ago, to be replaced in the past year, officials said.

The upgrades are part of a $38 million project established by Caltrain, in conjunction with the city of San Mateo. The four rail bridges — located on Tilton, Monte Diablo, Santa Inez and Popular avenues — no longer met current seismic safety standards, Caltrain officials said.

In addition to installing seismically safe rail bridges, the project has also allowed planners to raise the track’s height clearance, permitting for taller vehicles to pass through, according to project officials.

Caltrain officials say detour signs for both pedestrians and motorist should ease traffic flow issues while the construction crews complete their work.

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