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San Tomas Expressway Box Culvert Repair Under Way

Drainage Channel Repair to Prevent Stormwater Flooding
SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF. – With the help of a federal grant and Valley Transportation Authority funding, the County of Santa Clara has recently started the long-awaited box culvert repair project on San Tomas Expressway. The project will repair the floors and walls of a four-mile-long San Tomas Aquino Creek concrete drainage channel during non-rainy seasons. Work is located at the center of San Tomas Expressway between Williams Road and Monroe Street in Santa Clara. The project costs approximately $10 million and is expected to be completed in three years.
“The San Tomas Expressway Box Culvert Repair project is a perfect example of what can be achieved when public agencies work together to make a difference,” said Supervisor Ken Yeager, President, County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors. “The County is grateful for Congressman Honda’s efforts to secure federal participation in the funding and to VTA for contributing the construction funds.                                   
The current box culvert was constructed between 1963 and 1968. The concrete box culvert to be reinforced averages 14 feet by 16 feet, and includes 2,750 feet of U-frame open-air channel along the expressway by the protective railing in the median.  Conveying storm drainage from the San Tomas Aquino Creek and Wildcat Creek watersheds, the box culvert channels the stormwater runoff from most of Saratoga, Monte Sereno, and Campbell, as well as portions of Santa Clara and San Jose.
“I am pleased that we were able to work together at the federal and local level to secure the funding needed to repair the San Tomas Expressway Box Culvert,” said Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA). “This project is important for maintaining the structural integrity of the expressway to keep drivers safe, prevent environmental and flooding issues, and avoid traffic disruptions.  This is just one example of how badly in need of repair our nation’s aging infrastructure truly is. I am committed to supporting innovative approaches at the federal level -- such as a National Infrastructure Bank -- to provide the financing needed to bring U.S. infrastructure up to a state of good repair.”
Over 10 years ago, a structure inspection uncovered deterioration of the concrete and scour (erosion) on the floor of the box culvert and U-frame channel. Without repair, the structure would continue to deteriorate and ultimately collapse. This is a serious safety concern since portions of the roadway overtop the structure. There would be possibility of significant environmental and flooding issues, particularly at busy intersections such as Stevens Creek Boulevard and El Camino Real, where many homes and businesses are located.
In FY 2008, a $490,000 federal grant secured by Congressman Michael Honda was appropriated to the County to allow the project to start with repair design and environmental clearance.  In 2012, the Valley Transportation Authority allocated a total of $10 million in Surface Transportation Program funds for the project.
A $7.3 million construction contract was awarded to Anderson Pacific Engineering Construction, Inc. of Santa Clara on April 23, 2013. It is expected that drivers will not be significantly affected by the construction, as the majority of the work is done on the inside of the box. Sporadically, there could be closures of small stretches of the innermost lane of San Tomas Expressway as supplies are lowered into the box from the center median area.
For more information about the project, contact Gamini Rajapakse at:
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Media Contact: Gwendolyn Mitchell/Lingxia Meng, Office of Public Affairs (408) 299-5119; Dan Collen, Roads and Airports (408) 573-2492
Posted: June 27, 2013