The Downtown Project in Light of COVID-19: Essential Service
It goes without saying, but we are all living in a new reality with the onset of the COVID-19 public health crisis. Since City Hall offices closed to the public on March 16, 2020, the Department of Public Works has reviewed the Public Health Order issued by the Marin County Department of Health and Human Services to determine next steps and priorities for our public infrastructure work. While the City has scaled down several, non-essential services, staff has also identified which projects and services are “essential” to maintain the safety and health of our community and environment.
Along with streets, storm drains and sewage treatment, the City’s sewer system is critical infrastructure, and providing safe/reliable public sewer systems is an essential service. Sewer rehabilitation projects are critical to protecting public health, safeguarding water quality, sustaining natural resources and complying with environmental regulations.
The Downtown Project is a critical part of this essential work.
Latest Actions and Updated Schedule
The Downtown Project team has recently accomplished several actions to share with you. On April 7, 2020, members of the Design Advisory Committee (DAC) met and discussed the project, including topics such as contract status, anticipated construction schedule, logistics, parking, and public outreach.
Project Manager Ahmed Aly reported to the DAC that bids were opened on April 2, 2020 with seven eligible bids. He shared that the City has issued a “Notice to Award Contract” to K. J. Woods Construction for construction services, and a preliminary contract to Anchor Construction for construction management services.
The project schedule has been accelerated to every extent possible, with work possibly beginning the week of April 20, 2020. Expect to see preliminary activities on site next week such as utility markings, construction staking, and mobilization. This is a significant shift in the timeline, which was originally slated to begin in May or June. This is good news for our Downtown merchants, many of whom are closed or have modified their services due to the Public Health Order. Residents and Downtown merchants will see equipment staging and work crews making pavement markings as early as next week. The estimated completion date is the end of August 2020.
Staff and Anchor Construction have already started discussions with the Contractor and are seeking ways to further expedite substantial delivery of this project by working collaboratively with the subcontractors and material suppliers and project stakeholders. We will have an updated construction schedule from the contractor early next week and we will share it with the community.
Mitigating the impacts of construction on residents and businesses has always been a high priority and will continue during the Public Health Order. Mitigation measures include:
“Trenchless” construction methods wherever feasible.
Traffic control to keep one lane open with flagger directing traffic whenever possible
Pedestrian traffic control to safely direction pedestrians.
Providing staging areas for the contractor at the Corporation yard and City Hall to minimize on-street impacts
Employee parking at City Hall will be eliminated during the project, making those spots available for community members and project staging
Proactive, early notification for residents and businesses in the project area
Public access to driveways at all times where feasible
Coordinate business access for delivery trucks with local business
Sidewalk and street sweeping daily
Dust control measures
Regular communication and coordination with the Chamber of Commerce, Downtown stakeholders and the wider community
Work During COVID-19
Health and safety remains a priority for all “essential” workers and community members during the COVID-19 health crisis. For this reason, all contractors will adhere to Social Distancing Protocols as appropriate for the work conditions, as outlined in the Public Health Order.
Also, according to guidance from the California Department of Public Health, essential workers will wear face coverings as appropriate.
We will also monitor the latest public health guidance and adapt to new public health orders as they are issued through the duration of the project.
At their upcoming meeting on April 20, 2020, City Council will consider awarding the construction management contract to Anchor Construction.
Questions? Please reach out - we are happy to connect with you.
Construction and Design:
Ahmed A. Aly,Project Manager
Phone: (415) 384-4755
Public Outreach and Communications:
Linn Walsh, Senior Management Analyst
Phone: (415) 388-4863