The weekly Downtown Project eNewsletter from the City of Mill Valley
MAY 22, 2020
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The Downtown Project will focus on upgrading the infrastructure – below and above ground – in the Downtown area. The project’s goals are to repave the roadways, repair the sanitary sewer system, make drainage improvements, and upgrade pedestrian curb ramps. The project began in April and is estimated to finish in September 2020. 
Special Safety Message – Downtown Project – Stay out of the Construction Zone
It is illegal to enter an area that is under construction and marked with cones or barricades. 

We have received reports of some dangerous behavior around the Downtown Project and want to remind residents of the importance, for your safety and the safety of the workers, that you do not enter the Downtown Project construction zone.

  • Do not walk through construction zones - ever!!
  • Follow all temporary pedestrian walkways for safe, accessible routes.
  • Watch for any advance warnings about traffic control devices necessary to guide or direct the safest route. Transition signing may be placed in areas you do not normally see it.
  • Always follow the detoured pathway if the original is restricted or diverted, or just looks unsafe.

  • Do not use the piles of gravel for jumps and do not jump the open trenches.
  • Wear a bike helmet and protective gear. 
  • Obey work zone signs, detour signals, and road closed markings, just like a car.
  • Look ahead for hazards or situations to avoid that may cause you to fall like temporary signage placed in the road.
  • Do not ride in-between construction barricades, signage or equipment.

Motor Vehicles: 
  • Pay attention – Construction zone configurations can change without notice.
  • Don’t text or talk on the phone and avoid taking your hands off the wheel. 
  • Watch for speed limit reductions, narrowing lanes, changing traffic patterns, and road workers.
  • Pay attention to the construction and detour signage. 
  • If you are near moving construction equipment please stop and wait until you have made eye contact with the operator before proceeding.
Weekly Progress Report*:

Last week - The City’s contractor, KJWoods, conducted:

  • Corte Madera Ave.- Sewer line and sewer lateral work - Completed
  • Throckmorton Ave.- Sewer line and sewer lateral work, construction of a sanitary sewer manhole for Cured In Place Pipe (CIPP) work
  • West Blithedale Ave.- Sewer line work
  • Gardner St.- Sewer line work, Closed-circuit TV inspection for CIPP work

This week - KJWoods conducted the following:

  • Corte Madera Ave.- Closed-circuit TV inspection and sewer line work Completed
  • Throckmorton Ave.- Sewer lateral work 
  • West Blithedale Ave.- Storm Drain pipe installation
  • Gardner St.- Sewer line work and preparing CIPP liner (offsite)

Upcoming weeks - KJWoods will conduct the following: 

  • Corte Madera Ave.- Closed-circuit TV inspection. CIPP liner installation is scheduled for the week of June 1.
  • Throckmorton Ave.- CIPP liner installation is scheduled for the week of June 1.
  • The City block that is surrounded by Lovell, Corte Madera and Throckmorton Avenues and Bernard St. - CIPP liner installation is scheduled on a sewer line that runs diagonally under the City block for the week of June 1. See the map for details.
  • West Blithedale Ave.- Sewer line work, curb ramp work
  • Gardner St.- CIPP liner installation is scheduled for the week of June 1.
  • Sunnyside Ave.- Potholing activities to obtain visual confirmation of utilities and underground obstructions near or crossing the planned trench area. Sewer line work by Pipe Bursting method, and sewer lateral work.
  • East Blithedale- Potholing activities and sewer line work.

* All estimated timelines are tentative and subject to change.
West Blithedale Ave. - Storm Drain Work, Road Closure and Detour
Work crews will replace and repair the storm drain on West Blithedale Ave. from Gardner St. to Oakdale Ave. beginning the week of May 18 and continuing through June 5. Due to the narrow roadway, work crews will need to close the road to conduct this work. 
  • Road closures are effective during work hours of 8:00 am - 5:00 pm.
  • Driveways will be closed in the construction zone.
  • Be aware of no parking signs and park outside the construction zone. 
  • Pedestrian access will be accommodated during the work.
  • Please allow extra time for finding parking outside of the construction zone, and longer walks to access your vehicle. 

West Blithedale Residents - Your primary point of contact for issues related to this work is Norman Akana, Construction Manager, phone: (916) 806-0278 and email:   
Cured In Place Pipe (CIPP) Sewer Work
Throckmorton and Corte Madera Ave.s, Gardener St

For locations that will be treated with the CIPP method, downtown community members may detect a chemical odor. This is the smell of styrene, a component of the resin used to saturate the sewer liner. This odor will quickly dissipate once the installation process is complete. Watch a video about CIPP.

What You Can Do: 
  • Before Sewer CIPP Work Begins: Pour a gallon of water into sinks, floor drains, or other drainage openings, especially those that are seldom used and whose traps may be empty of water, before the contractor begins sewer lining work. This should prevent any odor from entering your building or home. 

  • During Sewer CIPP Work: It is important that while this work is being performed you limit activities that utilize large volumes of water, such as doing laundry, dishwashing, flushing toilets and bathing. If you do detect an odor, simply open your windows and/or turn on a fan to help ventilate the building. This level of concentration of airborne styrene does not pose a health risk

Additional Information about Styrene
The City of Mill Valley has used the CIPP sewer rehabilitation method, using the chemical styrene in projects such as: the 2019 Wastewater Treatment Plant Sewer Rehabilitation Project, the 2017 Miller Avenue Streetscape Project, and the 2017 Sycamore Avenue Sewer Lining Project, among many others.

  • What is styrene? Styrene is a clear, colorless liquid that is used in the production of many everyday products such as plastic packaging, counter tops, disposable cups and containers, insulation and others. We are constantly exposed to small amounts of styrene in both ambient and indoor air, mostly attributable to emissions from building materials, and consumer products.

  • How is styrene used in the sewer repair process? To repair the sewers, contractors will install a resin-saturated felt tube that later hardens into a strong “pipe-within-a-pipe.” Styrene is used in the resin that makes up the outside of the new pipe.

  • Will I smell styrene odors when the Contractor is rehabilitating nearby sewers? Styrene can be detected by its smell even when there are very small amounts of the chemical present. As a result, persons living or working along the sewer lines may notice styrene’s distinct plastic smell during the new cured-in-place pipe process.

  • Do the styrene odors released during the sewer CIPP rehabilitation process pose a risk to my health? The release of styrene during the sewer CIPP rehabilitation process does not pose a significant risk to human health or the surrounding environment. Most people, even if able to detect the styrene odor, have no reaction or symptoms.

  • What will the City do to monitor air quality? The City will require the contractor to provide Air Quality Monitoring during CIPP installation. If the readings exceed those allowed by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, then they are required to stop work immediately and notify the Construction Manager.  
Downtown Businesses Update

Downtown is open for curbside retail and food service takeout! This includes book stores, clothing stores, sporting goods, toy stores, florists, art/ceramics, housewares, jewelers and gift shops. Here's a working list of who's doing curbside retail pickup, and how to go about placing orders.

Check out the Chamber of Commerce's recent eNewsletter for the latest news on preparations to use outdoor space as regulations change in upcoming weeks.

Check out the Enjoy Mill Valley website for the latest on how to support our local businesses.

Where can I learn more about the project?
Please visit the Downtown Project webpage to learn more about the project. The webpage features:
Phase I Project Limit
Contact us:
City and Construction Management staff are available to answer questions and review concerns.
Construction Management:
Norman Akana, Construction Manager | Email: |
Phone: (916) 806-0278
Construction and Design: 
Ahmed A. Aly,Project Manager | Email:  |
Phone: (415) 384-4755
Public Outreach and Communications: 
Linn Walsh, Senior Management Analyst | Email:  | Phone: (415) 388-4863

Please also check out the Project Website:

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Thank You for Your Patience During Construction
The City of Mill Valley would like to send out a special thank you to the Mill Valley community for your patience during construction.