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Release date: 9/9/10

*** Press Release ***

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), which operates the Municipal Railway (Muni), and the Department of Public Works (DPW) will begin the California Cable Car Infrastructure Improvement Project on September 16.  The SFMTA and DPW will replace aging underground components of the cable car line and repave 17 blocks on California Street between Drumm Street and Van Ness Avenue. 

The project will require a six-month closure of the California Cable Car Line between January and July 2011. Muni bus shuttles will provide substitute service. The project also includes work on the cable car electrical system on Mason Street between California and Washington streets.  The maintenance improvement project will ensure the future safety and reliability of the cable car system while creating street improvements throughout this corridor.

“The care and stewardship of the cable cars, a National Historic Landmark, are a vital part of our Capital Improvement Program,” said Nathaniel P. Ford Sr., SFMTA Executive Director/CEO. “As we continue to reinvest in Muni, we invest in the future of San Francisco,”

The California Street Infrastructure Improvement Project is a result of years of planning and coordination between City agencies that will:

  • Replace necessary electrical and mechanical components to support the safe operation of the cable car system (i.e. conduits, pulley brackets, switches)
  • Reconstruct concrete streets
  • Repave street
  • Perform construction and installation of curb ramps at every intersection (excluding Van Ness Avenue and Stockton and Sabin streets) to comply with the Americans with Disability Act  requirements
  • Repair sidewalk curbs
  • Replace sewer

“As stewards of the public right of way, this investment in our infrastructure will continue to ensure that our streets are safe and reliable,” said Edward Reiskin, Director of the San Francisco Department of Public Works. “This coordinated approach will help minimize inconvenience and disruption to residents over the long term.”

There will be two phases to the California Street Infrastructure Improvement Project. The first phase of construction will begin September 16 and include the construction and installation of curb ramps, improvements to the sidewalk curb and sewer repair work.  The second phase of construction will begin after the Christmas/New Year holiday on Jan. 3, 2011 and require a six-month shutdown of the California Cable Car Line. The work scope will include improvements to the electrical and mechanical components of the cable car system, utility work beneath the cable car trackway and roadway pavement renovation.  Substantial completion of major construction and the return of cable car service on California Street are scheduled for late June.

During the shutdown of the California Cable Car Line, substitute Muni bus service will be provided along the California Line, and trolley bus operations on the 1 California bus route will remain in service.

The SFMTA, DPW and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) are collaborating on the $24 million California Street Infrastructure Improvement Project.  The total cost of the project is divided between the cable car line maintenance and improvements ($19 million), resurfacing streets and constructing curb ramps ($3.5 million) and the repair and replacement of sewers ($1 million).  The last major overhaul of the cable car system on California Street was completed in 1984.  As a result, much of the system’s infrastructure, including key electrical and mechanical components, is worn and in need of rehabilitation. The roadway along this corridor was also last resurfaced 25 years ago.

For more information about the cable car system and transportation alternatives, please visit For more information about street resurfacing and curb ramp installations, visit

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