Federal grant to help protect Highway 37 from flooding

Highway 37
Karl Nielsen

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has approved a $20 million grant to the Metropolitan Transportation Commission to help the Resilient State Route 37 partners implement improvements to reduce the risk of roadway flooding and inundation along the 10-mile stretch of Highway 37 between Sears Point in Sonoma County and Mare Island in Vallejo.

The partners include MTC, Caltrans, the California State Transportation Agency, the California Natural Resources Agency, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Bay Conservation and Development Commission, the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board, SMART and the county transportation agencies in Marin, Napa, Solano and Sonoma counties. 

“The FHWA’s support shows the Resilient State Route 37 program is not just a Bay Area priority but a national priority,” said MTC Chair and Napa County Supervisor Alfredo Pedroza of the grant approval last week. “This is another important step toward assembling the funding needed to meet the challenges facing this corridor. In addition to helping us pay for projects to reduce the near-term risk of flooding, the grant money brings us closer to getting started on other improvements to restore the health of the San Pablo Baylands and to add another lane in each direction to relieve the bottleneck from Sears Point to Mare Island.” 

FHWA awarded the grant through its Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient and Cost-Saving Transportation (PROTECT) discretionary grant program, which was established by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law enacted in 2021. Resilience improvements designed to increase Highway 37’s ability to withstand winter storms and rising sea levels are scheduled to begin in 2026. These are part of an estimated $430 million project planned for the heavily traveled North Bay corridor.

Approval of the new federal grant comes just months after the California Transportation Commission (CTC) awarded a $50 million grant through its Local Transportation Climate Adaptation Program to help MTC and its Resilient State Route 37 partners replace the existing Highway 37 bridge over Tolay Creek  in Sonoma County with a much longer span that will promote restoration of the historic San Pablo Baylands adjacent to and north of the highway by allowing more water to flow into and out of the creek channel.

MTC is the transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area. Caltrans owns and operates the state highway system.

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