Downtown Project Sanitary Sewer System Improvements Project Rescheduled to 2020

July 8, 2019

The Downtown Project will focus on upgrading the infrastructure – below and above ground – in the Downtown area. The project’s goals are to repair the sanitary sewer system, repave the roadways, make drainage improvements, and improve accessibility.

At their meeting on Monday, July 1, 2019, the City Council considered the approval of the plans and specifications of the first phase of the Downtown Project, the Sanitary Sewer System Improvements project– which includes the repairs of the sanitary sewer system in the downtown area. Construction was set to begin in late summer/early fall of this year.

Upon receiving information from City engineering staff and comments from members of the Downtown business community, Council directed scheduling the Sanitary Sewer System Improvements project to occur in May 2020 with the intention of lessening construction impacts on the Downtown business community by avoiding the busy fall and holiday shopping periods.

“The merchants expressed their concern about construction during their peak shopping time,” Mayor Jim Wickham said. “We heard them, and want to plan a project that makes economic sense for both the City and the Downtown businesses.”

City engineers estimate that the sanitary sewer repairs - a much needed investment in aging infrastructure and the protection of groundwater and environmental sustainability – will take approximately 4-5 months to complete.

The Sanitary Sewer System Improvements project includes 12 segments of downtown sewer that require repair. City engineers have determined that the majority of the work – 9 out of 12 segments – can be repaired with methods that do not require digging trenches in the street, and instead use manholes to access the sewer lines. These less intrusive pipe rehabilitation methods are called “Pipe bursting” and “Cured-in Place Pipe” or CIPP and they involve minimal impacts to the street, sidewalks and parking. The 3 segments that require “open trench” construction (Camino Alto and West Blithedale) will experience some traffic and parking impacts, but are further away from a vast majority of the Downtown Businesses. See the map and further explanation of construction methods here.

The City project team is committed to mitigating construction impacts and will recommend the Council consider the plans and specifications, and going out to bid on the project at the July 15, 2019 City Council meeting, with new stipulations that the contractor may not start construction  sooner than May 1, 2020, and require completion by September 30, 2020.

Next steps for the Downtown Project include a significant public outreach and engagement process to help determine the scope and phasing of the above-ground phase of the project, which includes accessibility improvements, drainage repairs and the repaving the roadway. Community members will have opportunities to participate in this process, through stakeholder meetings, public workshops and City Council Meetings. 

The Mayor and City Manager are in the process of appointing a Downtown Project Design Advisory Committee – a group of Mill Valley residents and business owners that will provide input on project scope and design concepts, explore alternatives, evaluate concept plans and select preferred plans within the attainable funding. Meetings will be open to the public, with agendas and meeting summaries posted for community review and consideration. Receive updates by signing up for our Downtown Project newsletter.

The City Council has adopted the Core Value of encouraging economic vitality with an emphasis on small and local serving businesses, and identified the attraction and retention of local serving businesses as a Key Issue. At the same time, the Council is guided by its Core Values to preserve health and safety, protection of the environment and the maintenance and enhancement of City infrastructure as one of its Key Issues.

Council and staff will continue to balance the needs for infrastructure repair and protection of the environment with the needs of our local businesses.


Construction Related    

Ahmed A. Aly, Project Manager
Phone: (415) 384-4755

Public Engagement and Communications

Linn Walsh, Senior Management Analyst
Phone: (415) 388-4863

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