Monday, November 22, 2010

Local Students Learn about Engineering and Teamwork at the New Crystal Springs Bypass Tunnel Project

After driving by the New Crystal Springs Bypass Tunnel site in San Mateo for several years, Dr. John Venuti, the Director of Information Technology at nearby Crystal Springs Uplands School, arranged a site visit for a group of his top senior students.

Strong in math and considering careers in engineering, the students met with project staff and learned about engineering and construction careers associated with the project.

Students learned about the importance of the Water System Improvement Program (WSIP) to rebuild and upgrade the Hetch Hetchy water system before the next major earthquake strikes the San Francisco Bay Area. They were excited to learn that the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) is using social media such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to educate the public about the WSIP and many other projects.

Blake Rothfuss, assistant construction manager and consulting engineer with Jacobs Associates, told the students how the new tunnel was created using a tunnel boring machine. He explained the advantages of boring the tunnel and placing the pipeline deep underground, deeper than the original, near-surface pipeline to improve its performance during an earthquake. “Planning, commitment, advanced engineering and teamwork are needed to successfully complete unique tunnel projects like this one,” said Blake.

SFPUC civil engineer Holly Chan talked about the importance of teamwork and how working together moves the project forward successfully. After graduating from San Francisco State University with a master’s degree in civil engineering, Holly has been able to put her engineering skills to the test by working on this complex and often difficult tunnel project. “It can be hard sometimes, but we work together and figure out the best way through a problem,” said Holly.

“These students are setting their sights on careers in engineering,” said Dr. Venuti. “Talking with successful engineers working on a huge project like this is really a great benefit for them.”

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Article: So San Francisco Doesn't Go Thirsty

Enjoy this interesting article from Tunnels & Tunnelling International magazine, "So San Francisco Doesn't go Thirsty" about the New Crystal Springs Bypass Tunnel project in San Mateo.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Lower Crystal Springs Dam Project: Informational Meeting on November 16, 2010

Please join us for an informational meeting about the Lower Crystal Springs Dam on Tuesday, November 16th at 7 p.m. The meeting will be held at the Hillsborough Town Hall at 1600 Floribunda Avenue.

San Mateo County has recently closed the Skyline Bridge (on top of the Lower Crystal Springs Dam between Crystal Springs Road and Bunker Hill Drive) to begin demolition work.

Hetch Hetchy Regional Water System construction projects will begin shortly near the dam and the Sawyer Camp Trail. You may contact us with questions or comments 24 hours a day at (866) 973-1476.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Temporary Night Work Coming in January 2011 at New Crystal Springs Bypass Tunnel

Starting on or around January 15, 2011, the contractor for the New Crystal Springs Bypass Tunnel project will perform critical work to connect the new pipeline to our water system.

These important pipeline connection activities at the South Shaft site off of Polhemus Road in San Mateo will require crews to work up to 24 hours a day, 7 days per week for approximately 3 weeks to complete this critical work as quickly as possible.

Neighbors may experience some noise from the crane and equipment.

We do not anticipate any interruption to your water service. Detailed information, including exact dates, work schedule, work hours and contact information will be provided in advance.

This important work is necessary to connect pipelines for your water supply and ensure water delivery after a major earthquake.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Skyline Bridge Closed

San Mateo County has closed Skyline Bridge (the bridge atop Lower Crystal Springs Dam on Skyline Blvd. between Crystal Springs Rd. and Bunker Hill Dr.) in order to begin the bridge replacement project. The Vista Parking area, near the southern trailhead of Sawyer Camp Trail, is also closed.

While Skyline Bridge is closed through 2013, cyclists will be detoured along Crystal Springs Road to Polhemus Road and then to the Ralston Recreation Trail. Motorists have several detour options, including use of Highway 92 and Interstate 280.

San Mateo County and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) are coordinating construction projects in and around the Peninsula Watershed from autumn 2010 through 2013. For a comprehensive fact sheet about the projects and to view the detour route:

For updates, you can sign up for the Sawyer Camp Trail blog (, or to the Twitter account dedicated to the recreational users of the Peninsula Watershed: