Meadow Way Bridge

Meadow Way BridgeMeadow Way Bridge, over San Anselmo Creek, was constructed in the 1950s. The 70-foot long structure supports one narrow 10-foot wide traffic lane nearly 25 feet above the creek bed. The bridge spans an average to relatively wide section of San Anselmo Creek at a very sharp left channel bend, and serves as the only egress and ingress point to nearly two dozen residences across the creek from Cascade Drive.

Current Conditions

The bridge deck at Meadow Way was not overtopped during the December 2005 flood, believed to be a 100-year event; high-water marks collected in the vicinity of the bridge were only between 6.5 and 8 feet above the channel bed. However, the significant flows through this part of the creek have undercut the both sides of the embankments in the vicinity of the bridge. This site’s unique geometry, combined with the channel bed soil type and flows, has created serious erosion and bridge foundation problems.

This bridge has a low Sufficiency Rating of 44.1 (out of 100) and has been evaluated by Caltrans and found to be “functionally obsolete” on account of its insufficient lane, sidewalk and overall widths. The bridge’s foundation vulnerability and obsolescence make it necessary for the Town to evaluate its full condition. Combined with the fact that the Toll Credit Program, which pays the Town’s share of the costs, will be ending at some point, there are good reasons to move forward with the Bridge’s full condition assessment at this time.


October 24, 2018: We have continued to make progress on bridge design, and recently received a few questions from neighbors. We’ve posted updates about the condition of the bridge, project status, and latest timeline here.

February 22, 2018: We received more than ten comments on the revised retaining wall design. We’ve posted answers to those comments and questions here: Comments and responses to Meadow Way Bridge January 2018 (PDF)

December 21, 2017: The design team made changes to the retaining wall in the creek at the base of the 333 Cascade Drive property. The change was made to break up the long wall for better aesthetics, to add more visible green space, and to take advantage of an opportunity to extend the fish habitat.

We want your feedback! Please take a short survey on the revised retaining wall design. The survey is open until Jan. 5, 2018.

See the 2017 and 2018 designs for the retaining wall and the proposed habitat improvement plan: Retaining wall revision and habitat drawings (PDF)

Read more about the retaining system made of logs, rocks, and plant roots: Log Rootwad and Boulder Revetment (PDF)

August 31, 2017: To improve access to information regarding Meadow Way Bridge, all questions and answers have been consolidated into one document.

Consolidated FAQs (PDF)

April 24, 2017: Caltrans has completed its 2016 Bridge Inspection Report and found that the Town’s temporary repairs will support raising the vehicle load limit for the Meadow Way Bridge. The 2016 Meadow Way Bridge Inspection Report is available and the status of the environmental studies are addressed below.

Meadow Way 2016 Bridge Inspection Report (PDF)

January 13, 2017: The Meadow Way Bridge replacement project will be presented before the Town Council on Wednesday January 18 for approval to proceed with preliminary design and studies to satisfy both the national and state environmental laws. See below for images and links to additional project documents:

Architects Project Rendering – A perspective drawing of the entire project in the finished state. It shows the bridge, walls, railings and concrete surface treatment.

Architect's Project Rendering (JPG)

Plan View with Property Lines – Bridge layout, retaining walls, the graded banks behind the walls, the vehicular travelway, the pedestrian path, the separation between the two paths, and the property lines surrounding the bridge.

Plan View With Property Lines (JPG)


Bridge General Plan (PDF)
Engineering drawing showing the plan, elevation and cross section views of the bridge, bridge span length, roadway width, etc.

Caltrans Bridge Type Selection Approval (PDF)
Caltrans internal correspondence about the approval of the project’s various concepts, shared with the Town.

Caltrans Response to Request for Accelerated Construction (PDF)
Request to and response from Caltrans regarding approval of plans to build the project in one season but at higher construction cost.

Riparian and Fish Habitat Enhancement (PDF)
Preliminary plan for fish habitat improvements after construction, including engineered logjams (ELJs), pools created with sand bars and planting in the creek.

Landscape Architect’s Mitigation Replanting Concepts (PDF)
Mitigation landscaping plan and planting after completion of construction.

October 25, 2016: Meadow Way Bridge repairs are scheduled to begin Monday, October 31. The day-by-day schedule of repairs by Thunder Mountain Enterprises (TME) is below.

Monday, 10/31: Mobilization Day – 8:00 am to 6:00 pm
TME will be mobilizing and staging

Tuesday, 11/1: Day 2 – 8:00 am to 6:00 pm
Traffic delays up to 20 min intervals between 10 am and 4 pm
Remove old fasteners, re-secure existing runners with new fasteners and HDPE underlayment

Wednesday, 11/2: Day 3 – 8:00 am to 6:00 pm
Removing bolts, runner sections, replacing w HDPE sheet reinforcement
4 counts of 3″X7″X14′ beams
Remove and replace 29′ of 6″x6″ curb timbers

Thursday, 11/3: Day 4 – 8:00 am to 6:00 pm
Garbage Day: No road closures for first half of day
Continue replacement of 29′ of 6″x6″ timbers

Friday, 11/4: Day 5 – 8:00 am to 6:00 pm
Final securing and checking bolts
Town Building Inspector walk-through

September 22, 2016: The project team has received an official Meadow Way Bridge Type Selection Approval from Caltrans. Additional details and recent project updates are also available; the latest FAQ update includes one new question, and the Right of Way Review Update now reflects latest drawing updates (revised 9/22/16). See below for links to all of these most recent documents.

Meadow Way Bridge Type Selection Approval by Caltrans (PDF)

Meadow Way Additional FAQs 092216 (PDF)

Right of Way Review Update – Rev 092216 (PDF)

August 22, 2016: The bridge right-of-way and property line surveys have been reviewed, and an agreement has been reached to ensure no encroachment onto private property. See below for links to a summary of survey review and bridge location, and for the signed Preliminary Environmental Studies document.

Right of Way Review Update (PDF)

Preliminary Environmental Studies by Caltrans (PDF)

August 9, 2016: The bridge and retaining wall preference survey (posted on July 21, 2016)  is closed and survey responses have been collected. Additional FAQs have been developed in response to recent questions and comments. See the links below for the new FAQs, survey results, and a summary of comments from both the survey and the June 29 meeting. 

Meadow Way – Additional FAQs – 080916 (PDF)

Meadow Way Bridge Survey Results (PDF)

What we learned from Comment Cards and Online Survey (PDF)

July 21, 2016: The project team posted a survey to vote on the preferred bridge and retaining wall design and finish for the Meadow Way Bridge replacement. This online survey is now closed.

June 29, 2016: The second project workshop was held at the Fairfax Women’s Club. The project team presented a summary of project work to date, bridge design options, and construction plans. The presentation is available for download at the link below.

Meadow Way Bridge June 2016 Workshop Presentation (PDF)

What we learned from comment cards (PDF)

April 12, 2016: A number of new project documents are available for download. These include a summary of environmental study needs, right of way maps, and survey documents.

Meadow Way Bridge Type Selection Report (PDF)

Meadow Way Bridge Environmental Studies Summary (PDF)

Meadow Way AP Maps (PDF)

Meadow Way Historic Survey Maps (PDF)

Meadow Way Current Aerial and ROW Exhibit (PDF)

October 27, 2015: The bridge repairs, mandated by Caltrans, were completed on October 10.  The contractor erected  a set of double beams adjacent to an existing pile cap beam at the east bridge abutment that had been found to be unsound by Caltrans.  The new beam is supported by three sets of double verticals attached to the concrete abutment platform and strapped to the existing three piles.  This system will act as a redundant support in lieu of the rotted wood beam until the bridge is replaced.  At another location, two split wooden pilings were strapped with galvanized steel straps.

Meadow Way Bridge Repair Image 1 (JPG)

Meadow Way Bridge Repair Image 2 (JPG)

Meadow Way Bridge Repair Image 3 (JPG)

Meadow Way Bridge Repair Image 4 (JPG)

Meadow Way Bridge Repair Image 5 (JPG)

Read the Town of Fairfax’s Meadow Way Notification of Replacement and Work Summary (PDF).

View proposed Meadow Way Bridge Stages (PDF).

View the Meadow Way Bridge Repairs (PDF).

View the Meadow Way Bridge Technical Report (PDF).

View the Caltrans Meadow Way BIR (PDF).

Read the Town of Fairfax’s Meadow Way Notification of Repairs (PDF).

View How to Read Caltrans BIRs (web link) presentation, see item #2.

View Timber Bridge Question (PDF) communication.

View Proposed Meadow Way Bridge Width (PDF) communication.

View Meadow Way Cost Adjustment and Glulam Option (PDF) communication.

View proposed Meadow Way Bridge Stages (PDF).

The Project

The purpose of the project is to address the needs of the Meadow Way Bridge so that it is safe and up to code. Context Sensitive Solutions is a holistic approach to planning, design, construction, maintenance, and operation of transportation elements. These solutions use innovative and inclusive approaches that integrate and balance community, aesthetic, historic, and environmental values with transportation safety, maintenance, and performance goals. The site of this bridge in a secluded neighborhood in Fairfax makes it a great candidate for a context sensitive solution.

Local concerns will be balanced with federal and state rules underwriting the program, safety issues, and the Town’s future maintenance costs. Given the technical advances made in the last 50-60 years since the bridge was built, the Town has an opportunity to explore a wide range of possibilities to make this bridge safe. At its October 2013 meeting, the Town Council narrowed the design options to the following: 1) repair the existing wooden bridge, 2) replace the bridge with a one-lane wooden bridge, and 3) replace the bridge with a one lane concrete/steel bridge. During all phases of the project, measures will be taken to minimize impacts to residents living near the bridge and to the ecology of the creek.

Construction activities and duration within the creek must comply with a variety of restrictions and agency requirements. The Regional Water Quality Control Board, the US Army Corps of Engineers, and the Department of Fish and Game all have interests and regulations that impact project alternatives. The project must be sensitive to fish, wildlife and plant impacts, noise ordinances, and recreational uses of the Creek. Because it is federally funded, the project must clear both federal and state environmental requirements (NEPA and CEQA).

Costs and Funding

The Meadow Way Bridge is on the National Bridge Inventory (NBI), is inspected by Caltrans biennially, and is eligible for Highway Bridge Program (HBP) funding. Thus, it is eligible for federal funds for its assessment and construction of the improvements. Federal funds would cover 88.53% of the project’s engineering, environmental assessment and construction costs; this funding is supplemented by Toll Credit Program, another federal program, which will pay the Town’s 11.47% share during construction. This provides a great opportunity for Fairfax to make significant infrastructure improvements with relatively small financial outlays.

Project Schedule

Input was gathered from nearby residents and other stakeholders, such as environmental groups, in late 2013 and early 2014. Environmental studies will take most of 2015 and some time in 2016, with designs developed during 2017, and construction beginning in spring of 2018. Further outreach will occur during 2015 and 2016 as well.

The Town of Fairfax and the project team are committed to an open public outreach process for this bridge project. We will be meeting with several groups to gather input, including neighborhood groups, Friends of Corte Madera Creek, and other interested parties. Communications with the neighborhood will remain open leading up to, and through, the construction period.

In October 2013, residents living close to the Meadow Way Bridge submitted questions to the Engineering Team. View the team’s responses to the questions.

A public workshop on the Meadow Way Bridge project was held on November 20, 2013. The purpose was to share all the background information on the project, answer questions, discuss assessment reports needed, and to present various options for providing a better bridge to the community, as well as to receive input from interested people.  A summary of the meeting and the presentation given at the meeting are available from the Downloads page. An audio recording of the meeting is available upon request; email and include your name and address to receive a CD.

Caltrans Field Review
In order to finalize Fairfax’s funding request for the Meadow Way Bridge, Caltrans requires a Field Review of the bridge. A Field Review is a process whereby Caltrans engineering and environmental review staff meet with the Town’s engineering and consulting team at the Meadow Way Bridge to discuss issues and answer questions. Without the Field Review, Caltrans will not authorize any additional funding for the project.
The Field Review will take place on January 6, 2015 in the late morning/early afternoon. On this day, you may see Caltrans, Town staff, and their consultants at the site. Once the Field Review has taken place and the funding package has been authorized, the Town of Fairfax will provide new updates, and a second public workshop on the project will be scheduled.

Download Meadow Way Bridge Fact Sheet ▼