Inter-Departmental Correspondence

Department of Public Works



October 18, 2002


November 5, 2002


Honorable Board of Supervisors


Neil R. Cullen, Director of Public Works


Middlefield Road Underground Utility District (Phase II) - Fifth Avenue to MacArthur Avenue - Redwood City Area




Hold a public hearing on the proposed formation of an underground utility district on Middlefield Road from Fifth Avenue to MacArthur Avenue.



Close the public hearing.



Adopt a resolution establishing an Underground Utility District on Middlefield Road.


Previous Board Action

Adopted a resolution setting November 5, 2002, at 9:00 a.m. in your Board's chambers as the time and place for a public hearing to consider the proposed formation of an underground utility district on Middlefield Road from Fifth Avenue to MacArthur Avenue.


Key Facts


Section 4.40.020 of the County Ordinance Code requires a public hearing before an underground utility district can be formed.



The North Fair Oaks Council has reaffirmed that the undergrounding of the utilities along the Middlefield Road Corridor is a high priority and supports the undergrounding of utilities in the Middlefield Road Corridor.



The completed Middlefield Road Public Corridor Study was conducted to address concerns raised at public meetings conducted by the North Fair Oaks Council. The study boundaries included Middlefield Road from the Atherton Town Limit to the Redwood City Limit (Encina Avenue to Douglas Avenue). The first phase extended from the Atherton Town Limit to and through the Fifth Avenue intersection. The proposed underground area for Phase II extends from Fifth Avenue to MacArthur Avenue.


Undergrounding improvements in Phase II include the facilities of Pacific Gas and Electric, Pacific Bell, AT&T Broadbrand, AT&T Fiber Optics, and the Menlo Park Highway Lighting District.


The conversion of electrical service on private property is the responsibility of the property owner. We estimate from previous conversion projects and a review of the project area that the cost per parcel will range from $3,000 - $5,000, as the properties within the proposed underground utility district consists primarily of commercial and multi-family housing units. These units normally have more complex electrical services that are more costly to convert to accept underground service.


The conversion of telephone communication and cable television facilities are the responsibility of the respective companies; therefore, the property owner incurs no cost for this specific work unless the property owner prefers or requires an alternate method of installation.


Property owners in the Phase II area were notified of the public hearing and the estimated costs associated with undergrounding utilities serving their parcels.


Vision Alignment

We believe our recommendation is consistent with the Shared Commitment to be a "responsive, effective and collaborative government" and Goal Number 20 "government decisions are based on careful consideration of future impact, rather than temporary relief or immediate gain" as the undergrounding of utilities meets the long term goal of improving the corridor as expressed by the community through the Corridor Study.


Fiscal Impact

The cost for undergrounding all overhead distribution facilities within the road right-of-way will be financed with the County's Pacific Gas and Electric "Rule 20A" funds allocated for conversion. The estimated cost for the underground conversion work of Phase II is approximately $2,000,000, which will require approximately four years worth of the "Rule 20A" allotments.


The Menlo Park Highway Lighting District will incur a cost to install new streetlights and a supporting electrical system. The installation cost of approximately 48 lights and conductors is $400,000.


The cost of converting property connections to accept underground service will be a cost to the individual property owner.


There is no impact to the County General Fund.

A form of resolution has been approved by County Counsel.