The Critical Infrastructure Project

The City of Belvedere is undertaking a major infrastructure improvement project that will protect the City from a number of threats.  The City is unusual in that it comprises two islands in the San Francisco Bay, the largest of these is connected to the mainland by two earthen levees, which are susceptible to significant displacement from an earthquake.  All utility trunk lines to and from this island – supplying electricity, gas, water, sewer, and fire suppression – are embedded within the levees, making them equally vulnerable to failure during a sizable earthquake.  Emergency access and evacuation also depend on the levee systems, as the roads built atop the levees provide the only access to Belvedere Island. These city-owned roads are over 80 years old and have not been upgraded since their original construction.


The Project

For over a decade, Belvedere has been researching ways to identify and address these vulnerabilities. Staff, Project Engineers, Architects, Professional Estimators, City Council, Committees, Citizen Groups, and the public have worked diligently on the solution. The project involves strengthening the City’s levees against seismic activity through the installation of steel sheet piles. These structures will be embedded deep into the sand and mud layers under these roads and will have the added benefit of stabilizing the existing concrete seawalls on Beach Road. While increasing the height of the levees/seawalls is no longer within the scope of this project, engineers have taken extra effort to design these improvements to be adaptable. When ready, the City will be positioned to address higher sea levels anticipated in 2050 and beyond.


  • The Belvedere City Council approved a final design concept in early 2021. 
  • The next stage, Feasibility-Level Design, phase has concluded.
  • CEQA analysis is nearing completion with a September/October release date of the Draft EIR.
  • The cost estimate for the projects is $20 million. 
  • The project is well on the way to being “shovel ready.”  Pending project funds, the final design will be completed in the second quarter of 2023.  
  • Following the certification of the EIR, securing funding will emerge as the key remaining challenge to completing this important project.


Belvedere is unusual in its level of susceptibility to a number of threats.  Limited access, adjacency to sea water, an antiquated system of levees and seawalls built without consideration for sizeable earthquakes, and rigid utility trunk lines combine to create a situation that needs to be remedied in order to protect citizens and public infrastructure. This project page has been developed to aid residents in understanding the history of the project and the public process in arriving at a preferred design and project plan. Information will be added and updated as the project develops.


For specific project questions not found on this webpage, please email the City Manager, Robert Zadnik at:

  1. Engineering Reports
  1. Project Plans
  1. Resident Oversight
  1. Upcoming Dates
  1. Draft EIR