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Tennessee Valley Path Pushed to Fall

Although work is set to start this month at the Shoreline Hwy. and Tennessee Valley Rd. intersection, overhaul east of Shoreline won’t begin until Sept. due to environmental restrictions.

Tam Valley residents and bicyclists and pedestrians in the area have waited decades for safety improvements along Shoreline Highway. Despite the of the long-delayed, $3.4 million Tennessee Valley Pathway project to significantly improve safety at Shoreline and Tennessee Valley Road, they’ll have to wait a bit longer.

Marin County Department of Public Works officials said Thursday that contractor Maggiora & Ghilotti is ready to begin work at the intersection this month, including the installation of a traffic signal there.

But the construction of a raised boardwalk for pedestrians and bicyclists east of Shoreline has to wait until Sept. 1 due to environmental restrictions, according to Scott Schneider. Although the county awarded the contract last September, the work couldn’t be completed by a Jan. 31 deadline to comply with protections for the California Clapper Rail bird, so the county decided to hold off on that portion completely until this fall. The county hoped to have the project finished by April.

“We could have had the contractor start and put in pilings but they wouldn’t have been able to finish in time,” said Pat Echols, senior civil engineer with the county. “We want to keep it open to public, and if we’d started the work east of Shoreline, we would have had wood pilings sticking up out of the ground. It would have been a mucky mess and not very suitable for public access.”

The project has a number of components, including: a raised boardwalk along Coyote Creek that allows for safe passage during high tide on both sides of Shoreline Hwy.; a small bridge crossing Coyote Creek on the west side of Shoreline connecting to Tam Junction; and an offshoot path near connecting the path to Shoreline closer to Hwy.101, near the Manzanita Park & Ride. The project's linchpin is the traffic signal at the intersection, a component without which the whole thing likely wouldn't have been approved, Echols said.

County officials expect the work at the intersection and west of Shoreline to be completed by the summer, with the entire project expected to be finished by late November.

Once the work at the intersection begins, the path will be closed around the intersection. Because of that, the county is set to pay $69 a day to post a school crossing guard at the intersection of Gibson Avenue and Shoreline Highway, as students heading from Tam Valley to Mill Valley Middle School, for instance, will be diverted due the the closure.

Coupled with plans to install a traffic signal and related improvements at Shoreline Hwy. and Flamingo Rd., which also languished for many years but has been revived in recent months, Tam Valley is seeing some action on projects long sought by biking and walking advocates in the area.

That traffic signal project, estimated to cost $525,000, is expected to go out to bid this spring, Schneider said, and built this summer. 

Robin February 10, 2012 at 08:51 PM
Sorry to hear about the path delay. My family is eagerly awaiting its arrival. I am so happy that we are starting to see more projects in the Shoreline highway area, though. It is so badly in need of safety, traffic, bike and pedestrian, bus, flooding, and beautification improvements!
Kathy Mcleod February 12, 2012 at 05:17 PM
I think we are going to have a problem with this. The suggested route during construction is to go along Shoreline. I don't see the Manzanita Connector on the map either. Is it or is it not going to be constructed? Will there be at least a temporary safe and separate route along Shoreline for all our children getting to and from school? If so, I would hope it would remain permanent.

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