A Commitment to Serve and Preserve Our Community

The Alameda County Public Works Agency is committed to providing a high level of service to the community we serve through the design, construction and maintenance of innovative transportation and flood control infrastructure.  To accomplish this goal, our employees use creative and cost-efficient solutions to meet the challenges we face every day.  We continually strive to enhance the quality of life for our customers—the residents and businesses of Alameda County—by providing safe and environmentally sensitive public works infrastructure, including roadways, bridges, and flood control channels.

WHAT WE DO - PUBLIC WORKS BY THE NUMBERS

WHO ARE WE? 

OUR VISION

Alameda County Public Works Agency is recognized by the community and professional organizations as a leader in innovation, service delivery and employee excellence.

OUR MISSION

To enhance the quality of life for the people of Alameda County by providing a safe, well-maintained, and lasting public works infrastructure through accessible, responsive and effective services.

OUR GOALS

Roadway Improvement - Keep roads safe and well-maintained

Flood Protection - Provide the highest levels of flood protection

Infrastructure Management – Provide service levels that optimize infrastructure life cycles and minimize deferred maintenance

Construction Oversight – Ensure that development and construction adhere to applicable state and County rules

Environmental Stewardship – Ensure that the Agency’s operations and services minimize negative impacts on the environment

Disaster Preparedness and Response - Optimize disaster preparedness, response, and recovery times.

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Who Are We?

Alameda County is the seventh largest county in California, with an estimated 141,898 residents within its unincorporated areas (including the urban communities and most of the rural outlying areas of the eastern portion of the county) and a total population of 1,510,210. (U.S. Census, 2015).  

The Public Works Agency serves the unincorporated areas of Alameda County, including Castro Valley, Sunol, San Lorenzo, Ashland, Cherryland, Fairview, and unincorporated parts of San Leandro, Hayward, and Livermore.  

We design, build and maintain the public infrastructure, including streets, sidewalks, bike lanes, creeks, flood control facilities and storm drains.  Along the unincorporated roadways in Alameda County, we sweep public streets, landscape the public right-of-way, trim trees, and remove graffiti.  We oversee the installation and operation of traffic signals, street lights, roadway signage, roadway pavement markings and paint.  We also work with neighborhood associations to resolve speeding, parking and traffic problems. 

The Agency also performs the engineering review of private development and issuance of building permits, right of way encroachment permits, and well-drilling permits.  The Public Works Agency also facilitates a variety of community programs including beautification, cleanup projects, graffiti abatement, community celebrations, and biking/walking safety and promotion programs.  

The Agency administers the Alameda County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, a separately chartered organization that serves the entire county.  The Alameda County Flood Control and Water Conservation District helps protect Alameda County residents and property from flooding while preserving the natural environment.  The District is the devoted steward of a valuable resource—a vast flood control infrastructure including channels, pump stations and other facilities.  The District works specifically to protect county citizens from flooding while preserving the natural environment. 

As a first responder agency, the Public Works also maintains a 24-hour Dispatch Center and an on-call Department Operations Center during hazardous weather events or other emergency events. We provide emergency response services to situations or concerns involving County maintained roads or flood control channels. 

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What We Do - Public Works by the Numbers

 

We maintain:

•    490 centerline miles of roadways and public right-of-ways in Alameda County
•    45,000 road signs within the unincorporated areas
•    550 miles of flood control creeks, channels and culverts
•    232 miles of underground flood control culverts

We operate and maintain:

•    24 storm pump stations
•    173 traffic signals and 19,000 street lights
•    Six estuary drawbridges which accommodate over 44 million vehicle trips annually

We also:


•    Issue over 4,500 building permits per year
•    Perform building inspections and plan checks
•    Protect and improve water quality
•    Review land development projects

 

 

 

 

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ROADWAY IMPROVEMENT

TRANSPORTATION IMPROVEMENT

A reliable infrastructure system is vital to the safety and economic well-being of the county. The Public Works Agency plays an important role by planning, promoting, designing, funding, and constructing transportation facilities for unincorporated Alameda County.   To accomplish this, our engineers plan and design transportation capital improvement and traffic projects in the unincorporated areas of Alameda County.  Projects include the design and construction of new roadways as well as improvements to existing roadways, such as pavement rehabilitation, congestion management, traffic safety, pedestrian and bicycle facilities, and bridge rehabilitation and retrofit.    

CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM 

The Transportation Capital Improvement Program (TCIP) includes planning and engineering to maximize mobility and safety for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists. Typical projects include building and repairing roadways, adding traffic lanes, replacing failing retaining walls, and making slide repairs and seismic upgrades. Other services include implementing efficient traffic control measures (like roundabouts, raised intersections, speed humps/speed bumps, turn lanes, traffic signals, lighting, and signage); maintaining and improving roadway pavement; and constructing pedestrian sidewalks, bicycle lanes, and multi-use pathways.

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FLOOD PROTECTION

Acting in its capacity as the Alameda County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, the District helps protect residents and property from flooding through the planning, design, construction, and maintenance of flood control facilities such as natural creeks, channels, pipelines, pumps, and levees.   The District also works to prevent storm water pollution and educates citizens about actions they can take to create a healthier environment.   

CLEAN WATER PROGRAM

Taking steps to protect the water quality of our creeks and waterways is integral to the overall quality of our environment. The Clean Water Program staff implement programs that are mandated by the Federal Clean Water Act and required by the California Water Quality Control Board. Their objective is to improve water quality through the use of comprehensive watershed management strategies. The majority of work conducted in this division involves coordinating, supporting and implementing the requirements of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit of the Clean Water Act within the unincorporated areas and throughout Alameda County.

In addition to NPDES responsibilities, the Clean Water Program staff monitor water quality in select creeks and channels, provide educational forums and materials on the importance of water quality to elementary school children, promote environmental stewardship through our natural waterways, and administer the Alameda Countywide Clean Water Program (ACCWP).  Established in 1998, ACCWP is a consortium of 17 member agencies within Alameda County that jointly administer and implement the NPDES permit for all member agencies. 

WETLAND RESTORATIONS 

Sediment excavated from Flood Control District channels are used to build or create wetlands to provide vital wildlife habitat. Other components of the project include:

•    Constructing levees to protect properties from the effects of climate change and sea level rise
•    Installing recreational trails on the tops of the levees
•    Ongoing studies to understand the effects of climate change and sea level rise on the County. 

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INFRASTRUCTURE MANAGEMENT 

PWA provides many of the basic services that affect the daily lives of everyone who lives, works, visits and commutes within the unincorporated areas of Alameda County as well as the eight defined flood zones that provide flood protection for most of its cities. 

PWA has five skilled sections dedicated to making Alameda County a safe place to live through infrastructure management.

ROADWAY MAINTENANCE

Maintains 471 center line miles of roadway and county right of ways. Major tasks include  pavement rehabilitationguardrail repairfence repairpothole patchingshoulder repairstorm damage repair and cleanupweed controltree trimmingstreet sweepingdebris removalchip sealpavement repairscrack fillingculvert cleaning-repair-replacecommunity service requests, support for the Capital Improvement Program, and 24/7 emergency response.

TRAFFIC SAFETY, TRAFFIC SIGNALS AND STREET LIGHTS

Provides emergency service and routine maintenance of traffic signals and streetlights in the unincorporated areas of Castro Valley, San Lorenzo, Livermore, and Pleasanton. Maintenance operations are performed on a regular basis to ensure all equipment is operating as intended.  Maintenance activities include replacing bulbs and lamps on a scheduled basis and repairing or replacing damage caused by accidents or vandalism. This section also provides inspection services on new roadway construction in Alameda County. 

This section also maintains, repairs, and replaces approximately 45,000 road signs within the unincorporated areas of Alameda County and installs new signs as directed by the County Traffic Engineer, paints traffic lines, cross walks, and curbs, reviews signs and performs accident repairs and graffiti removal; and replaces missing or broken pavement markers and delineators.

FLOOD PROTECTION

Maintains 550 miles of flood control creeks, channels, and culverts in an effort to maximize facility capacity and protect properties from flooding. Major tasks include; levee repair, silt basin maintenance, weed control, tide gate maintenance, concrete structure repair, vegetation removal, de-silting, fence repairs and emergency response. 

PUMP STATIONS

Maintains and operates 24 storm water lift stations (pump stations) located in the western, low-laying flood plain areas of the County. Two of these stations protect roadway underpasses – one in San Lorenzo, and the other on Pleasanton Sunol Road. All 24 pump stations are maintained and operated year round to direct collected storm water, ground water, irrigation drainage, and transient street runoff to nearby flood control channels. A Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system has been in operation since 2006 for remote operation and monitoring of the pump stations.

ESTUARY DRAWBRIDGES

Operates and maintains six drawbridges over the Oakland-Alameda Estuary. Four of these bridges are for vehicle traffic; one is for trains; and one is exclusively for bicycles and pedestrians. All of the bridges except the railroad bridge are known as bascule bridges. The railroad bridge is a vertical lift bridge. Today, the four vehicle bridges handle in excess of 44 million vehicle trips annually and serve as transportation corridors for most of the commercial traffic between the cities of Oakland, Alameda and Interstate 880. They also permit passage of over 2,300 private and commercial tugs, barges, sailboats and other watercraft. 

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CONSTRUCTION OVERSIGHT

As Alameda County continues to change and grow, PWA provides many of the services that support the planning and construction of residential and commercial developments, and the infrastructure necessary to support them.  PWA provides customers with a one stop shopping experience, providing development plan review, issuing of building permits, and inspection of building construction and the infrastructure necessary to support land development. PWA also provides construction management services for transportation projects in unincorporated Alameda County and flood control facilities in West Alameda County.  Additional services include the review and issuing of gradingstorm water, flood control and road encroachment permitsstreet light services; and administration of both the Federal Damage Reduction and Inspection Program (FDRIP) and the State Bridge Inspection Program.

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ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP

ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION 

In an ecosystem, plants, animals, and other living organisms function together with their physical environment. An ecosystem can be small—like a local creek—or large; the whole earth is one big ecosystem. The things we do every day can affect both local and global ecosystems. The County builds partnerships with businesses, nonprofits, and citizens to preserve and restore local ecosystems through creek restoration, urban forestry, and other initiatives.

WALKABLE COMMUNITIES

Designing communities where people can walk to the grocery store or public transportation helps improve quality of life and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The County provides public road improvement projects in unincorporated communities that provide for a balance for all uses including motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists.  

We have had an on-going traffic calming program since the mid 1990's and, where feasible, include narrower roads, wider sidewalk areas, street trees, and bay-friendly landscaping. The program encourages neighborhood connectivity, walking, public transportation, and crime reduction through people presence.  The green features of these streetscape/redevelopment projects will also be designed to meet independent standards of both the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED® program and the regional Bay-Friendly Landscaping program. 

BICYCLE AND PEDESTRIAN MASTER PLAN

Walking is the most basic and convenient form of transportation. Most travelers walk during some portion of their journey. Pedestrians have the same basic needs as all other travelers: direct, continuous, and safe routes. Planning for pedestrian travel, however, must account for pedestrians' unique needs for shorter travel distances and personal security. 

Bicycling is a healthy, non-polluting, traffic reducing, and fun form of transportation. Exercise such as bicycling (and walking) has a positive effect on the overall health of the community by increasing fitness and reducing diseases related to inactivity. Encouraging people to bicycle when making short trips also helps cut down on harmful auto emissions, noise pollution, and congestion. 

The Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan promotes pedestrian safety and access to create more walk-able communities in the unincorporated areas of Alameda County. The plan makes providing safe routes to schools and safe routes to transit a high priority for pedestrians.

The Plan also advances the County goal of making bicycling an integral part of the transportation system in Alameda County unincorporated areas. The Plan recommends projects, programs, and policies to encourage bicycling. Projects include creating bike paths, adding bike lanes to existing roads, and widening roads. High priority is given to projects that would close gaps in bike routes to public transit and schools. 

CONSTRUCTION AND DEMOLITION DEBRIS MANAGEMENT

The demolition, design, construction, and maintenance of buildings and structures within the County can have a significant impact on the County's environmental sustainability, resource use and efficiency, and waste management. It can also affect the health and productivity of residents, workers, and visitors. Based on studies by StopWaste.Org, construction and demolition debris comprises up to 21% of materials disposed in Alameda County landfills.   

In 2003, the Alameda County's Green Building Ordinance was adopted.  This Ordinance requires that a minimum of 50% of construction and demolition debris at County projects be diverted from the landfill through recycling and reuse; its 2008 75% waste diversion resolution sets a goal of increasing that percentage to 75%.

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DISASTER PREPAREDNESS AND RESPONSE 

The Public Works Agency has the responsibility to protect public health and safety, and to preserve public property and infrastructure from the effects of hazardous events, earthquakes, floods, etc. Our role is to identify and mitigate hazards, preparing for and responding to, as well as managing the recovery from, emergency situations that effect our infrastructure, including damage-assessment surveys of public facilities, roads, bridges, channels, levees, and other infrastructure.

In an emergency, public works staff works closely with public safety, whether its law enforcement or fire personnel, to assess damage and develop and implement responses. The Public Works Agency plays a key role in the County’s response teams. In fact, public works was officially added as a first responder in 2005 by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). When an emergency is declared, Public Works personnel also serve as part of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and operate a Department Operations Center (DOC) at the Public Works Agency’s building at 951 Turner Court, Hayward.  

In major events, transportation and flood control are two important areas of focus for public works personnel. The access to and from impacted areas is often damaged or impassable during an emergency response. In such cases, restoring this access is essential to save lives and preserve public property. The Public Works Agency is called upon to bring in the heavy equipment and personnel to remove debris and re-establish access for emergency workers who need to rescue or evacuate residents.

•    FEMA Flood Information
•    Sandbags
•    Storm Preparation

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