City awards contract to repair Oakland street that serves Piedmont homes

The City Council on Monday awarded a $290,269 contract to a Castro Valley-based construction company to make permanent repairs to a narrow lane that serves to give four Piedmont households vehicle access to the outside world.

At Monday’s special meeting, the council voted 3-0 to award the bid to A-1 Construction, the only bidder, to repair major slide damage that in February 2017  undercut Cavendish Lane, essentially washing it out. That cut off the four households at the west end, the Piedmont end of the lane.

Councilmembers Tim Rood and Betsy Smegal Andersen were absent from Monday’s meeting, which with only this item on the agenda wrapped up in 20 minutes.

The damages to Cavendish Lane, off Park Boulevard on Piedmont’s eastern flank, actually occurred on the Oakland side of the city limit line. Piedmont is paying now, officials say, because Oakland officials have said Cavendish likely wouldn’t be on their city’s to-do list for several years. 

“This was a challenge in which one city’s failed road prevented access for another city’s residents to their homes.”

City Administrator Sara Lillevand

Piedmont officials had asked Oakland to make and pay for the repairs, as vehicles were completely unable to access those four Piedmont homes for a month. When the City of Oakland declined to repair the narrow street immediately, Piedmont spent $54,000 on temporary repairs using steel plates, which remain there to this day. Large vehicles, notably garbage and recycling trucks, still cannot get directly to those four houses. 

Oakland officials told Piedmont leaders it could be several years before they get around to fully repairing Cavendish Lane. So in December, the City Council approved an agreement that allows the City of Piedmont to design and build a permanent repair for Cavendish Lane. It also calls for eventual reimbursement to Piedmont for costs incurred in repairing the Oakland-owned roadway.

In addition to the estimated construction cost of $290,269, the City Council on Monday approved spending $43,540 for construction contingency (15 percent of construction cost), and $64,415 for estimated construction management and inspection, for a total of $398,224.  

Officials from both cities hope that reimbursement — or at least part of it — will come upon settlement of a lawsuit filed by Oakland against a property owner on nearby Trestle Glen Road (on the Oakland side of the line) for having performed “unsupported grading work” the lawsuit asserts caused the slide damage undermining Cavendish Lane. 

If the lawsuit award doesn’t completely cover Piedmont’s repair costs, the City of Oakland will make up the remainder, as per Piedmont’s agreement with Oakland.

City Public Works Director Chester Nakahara said construction should begin in the next two to three weeks. The project should take about seven weeks to complete, according to a city staff report.

Each of the four households will be given a golf cart to get between where their cars are temporarily parked through the repair site to their homes. Giving each resident of each household a cart, he said, would be impractical.

“There is going to have to be some compromise and cooperation among the residents,” Nakahara said.

Council members said Monday night that this vote ends one phase of what’s already been a long process. Many people helped make this project happen, they said, including Cavendish Lane residents, city staff including former city administrator Paul Benoit and the city attorney’s office.

“I can’t remember a time when we weren’t talking about Cavendish Lane,” said Vice Mayor Teddy Gray King. “There are a lot of cooks in this kitchen.” 

Reach Sam Richards at

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