Local Public Works Almost Done

We’re racing to the finish, to complete several road and park construction projects before the official rainy season.  Oakland Public Works has been doing surprisingly well, finishing work at Shepherd Canyon Park, Montclair Park and Skyline Boulevard.

At Shepherd Canyon Park, the parking lot has been completed already.  This lot should improve safety for everyone driving by the park.  It’s built with water-permeable materials, since the canyon has flooding issues.  There will be a dedication sometime soon.

On the other hand, the Shepherd Canyon Road sink holes may re-appear this season.  Nearly $1 million had been approved to replace the ancient storm drainage pipes that cause the problem.  However the fixes have not been funded or scheduled yet, so we’ll keep our fingers crossed about future floods.

Down the hill, the improvements to Montclair Park paths will be done this month.  The remaining tasks include pouring concrete as well as installing fencing, drainage and handrails.  Montclair SIC plans several beautification efforts ahead, including daffodil plantings on November 15th.

Since late September, Skyline Boulevard has been shuttered to make permanent repairs caused by last winter’s storms.  We’ve been blocked from Berkeley, the parks and tunnel detour since then, waiting for Oakland Public Works to re-open the road by early December.

It turns out Public Works has made rapid progress on Skyline.  This weekend, local realtor Laurel Strand declared “whoopee!” in the Montclair Yahoo group, sharing that “Skyline Blvd at Snake to Grizzly Peak Road repair is finished!  We can now travel over the tunnel to Orinda.”

Even with the city’s budget crunch, we seem to be plowing through the projects scheduled before the winter storms.  That’s important because Oakland Public Works will undoubtedly be responding to the storms, floods and other winter travails soon.

Remember That Skyline Is Closed

While it’s nearly ancient history, do you recall the mudslide in early January?  Skyline Boulevard was closed for temporary repairs, and one lane re-opened for traffic by late February.  You’ve needed a little patience since then, when waiting for the red traffic light to change there.

Yesterday, I started driving up Skyline and reached a surprising dead-end!  The mudslide section is now closed for permanent repairs, at least until December.  This closure may have publicized, but the news passed me by – and maybe you, too.

As a public service, here’s the latest scoop from Oakland Public Works.  First, the road is closed between 7257 and 7293 Skyline Blvd.  No pedestrians, bicycles, motorcycles or motor vehicles may use the road.  While closed, the work scope includes drainage repairs, utility relocation and slope stabilization.

Public Works expects to complete all fixes before the winter rainy season, and permanently re-open both travel lanes.  If the work proceeds without delays, then Skyline might be accessible by early December.  I’m taking bets for sometime before the holidays, though.

In the meantime, don’t even try to sneak around the Skyline closure.  Stick to the lower roads when you head over to Berkeley.  If you want to drive to Tilden Park or Sibley Preserve, then wander up Claremont Canyon.  Any other hints, please share them here.