City Finally Launches Road Repairs After Years of Deterioration

Map shows the reach of $10 million in roads funds for this summer
Map shows the reach of $10 million in roads funds for this summer

For the first time in years, the city has launched a major road repair effort, the city announced on Wednesday. This comes after the city has been able to put away more than $4 million in roads funding from the last two budgets. In May, Bob Clarke gave a presentation to city council that showed about $15 million in roads funds ready for this summer.

The city announced on Wednesday that it is ready to kick off its “annual” maintenance program.

The city announced it “selected street/path sections based on their current condition and the class of street.  For this phase, collector and arterial streets were prioritized for treatment over local streets.”

Areas receiving full rehabilitation include:

  • Community Park Bike Path from the south side of the bike overcrossing to Community Pool.
  • East Covell Blvd:  Birch Lane to Alhambra Drive
  • L Street:  Second Street to Fifth Street
  • West Eighth Street:  Anderson Road to A Street
  • East Eighth Street:  J Street to L Street
  • Lillard Drive:  Farragut Circle to 2761 Lillard Drive
  • Lake Blvd:  Arlington Blvd to West Covell Blvd

Improvements include “bike path reconstruction, curb ramp replacement to meet current ADA requirements, sidewalk, curb and gutter repairs, crack sealing, milling, street overlay/paving and restriping.”

In addition, “Crack sealing will be conducted on streets that were patched this past winter. Those streets include: West Covell Blvd, Drake Drive, Catalina Drive, Russell Blvd, A Street, Oak Avenue and Richards/Cowell Blvd.”

The city says it “is utilizing a new eco-friendly process to address existing steep crowns and/or deteriorated underlying AC.  This method will be used on West Eighth Street, East Eighth Street, L Street and Lake Boulevard. The treatment method is called Cold-In-Place Recycling (CIR) and Asphalt Rubber Hot Mix (RHMA).  The technology takes the existing road material, mills and remixes with fresh asphalt emulsion binder and then compacts the material.  This method re-uses existing materials in place and recycled tires as part of the new pavement.  This will reduce hauling of pavement back and forth from the asphalt plant and will considerably reduce the number of truck tires in landfills.”

“This technology will reduce our carbon footprint as well as provide additional benefits,” the city said.

  • 650 heavy truck loads of asphalt concrete will be kept off the Davis streets due to the use of CIR and RHMA.
  • 250 tons of greenhouse gases and 4,500 lbs. of particulate matter will be reduced by using the CIR and RHMA technology.
  • Approximately 12,400 tires will be diverted from the Davis landfill.
  • The roads will have a smoother and quieter driving surface at end of day for residents.
  • Upon completion, the roads will have a smoother and quieter driving surface.
  • Better pavement performance:  the new technology will perform better and last longer than the existing pavement.

Davis has not yet completed its full analysis of infrastructure needs. Roads alone could well top $150 million. Currently, the city has cobbled together about $1 million in road impact fees along with $3 million in general fund monies, but the city manager acknowledges that, while this is a good start, it is insufficient to deal with the full extent of the problem.

In July, the council heard a presentation on the idea of using a utility user tax to fund roadways. Right now, the city is looking at the state average of 5.5 percent, raising approximately $5.3 million annually.

Dan Carson reported in mid-July, “For the first time in decades, there is a growing bipartisan consensus in the California Legislature to significantly bolster funding for state and local transportation needs.”

He noted that Davis could potentially receive as much as $3 million per year in additional funding to maintain city streets and bike paths. If this came to fruition, while it would not solve the city’s problems, it would help.

As Dan Carson put it, these monies are “unlikely to end current discussions about a June 2016 local utility users tax measure aimed at improving City of Davis infrastructure,” but they could be a help.

On the other hand, Mr. Carson still believes that the city will need far less than projected for its 20-year pavement program. He writes, “Prior city projections were that $7 million annually would be needed for road and bike path maintenance, but those estimates could be reduced if more reasonable inflation assumptions are adopted to reflect future paving costs.”

He adds, “In any event, an injection of $3 million annually in state money within a few years would make a huge difference in the situation. The city currently has committed just under $4 million in General Fund and special funds on an ongoing basis to its pavement program. Adding other one-time grants into the mix, a ramp-up of additional state aid over a few years to $3 million could provide the city enough money to carry out a robust pavement repair program.”

He argues, “Such substantial additional help from Sacramento could lessen the burden on local taxpayers on dealing with these problems. If a local utility users tax measure still moves ahead next June, as is now contemplated, the state action could free up local resources from a new local tax measure to meet other infrastructure needs, including other transportation and park projects.”

The city council is asking staff to come back with a full assessment of infrastructure needs this fall and could, based on that discussion, look towards a revenue measure in June 2016.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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  1. Anon

    It took the city of Davis years to get into this mess, and it will take years to get out of it.  At least a good start has been made to begin street/path maintenance/repairs.  In some places the potholes are horrendous, and it is only going to get worse (cost more $$$) if the problem is not addressed NOW.

    1. Davis Progressive

      think about it this way – if the costs are really $150 million, it would take 15 years at $10 million (which is not currently budgeted) to reach that figure.  in 15 years, it will be past time for streets that were repaired on year one to be repaired.

      1. hpierce

        ” in 15 years, it will be past time for streets that were repaired on year one to be repaired.”  That is patently untrue.  ’tis obvious you know not of what you speak.  It is untrue, in that minor maintenance (at a fraction of the costs of repair) can be done periodically that can greatly extend service life of roadways at a fraction of the costs of repair.  

        The NEED for maintenance was ignored by CC, despite repeated warnings of staff for so many years, has blossomed into the current “crisis”.  Over the last 5-10 years, professional staff has been requiring the design of street sections that aim for a 40 year design life, instead of 20 years.  30 years ago, staff upped the design criteria for new subdivisions from 10 to 20 years.  To match the City’s in-house design standards.

        I can see that, DP, based on your pattern of past posts, you cannot conceive that the “overcompensated, underworked” professional City employees aren’t the “cause” of the current challenges.

  2. TrueBlueDevil

    Some unanswered questions / clarifications:

    1. When does this road work actually start, and when will it be completed?

    2. Was there an open RFQ process for this work?

    3. What company will do the work?

    4. I’m unclear as to how much work will be completed this summer / fall: $4 million, or $15 million?

    5. Does the map represent the $4 worth of work, or the $15 million?

    6. Has there been a schedule posted regarding which roads will see work first?

    Thank you.

        1. Robb Davis

          Just one more link.  Go here to watch/listen to Bob Clarke’s presentation on road repairs over this and the coming fiscal years.  It provides context for this article.  The map presented at the end of the presentation is not clear and I am working with staff to get the entire presentation online (it does not seem to be loading right now).

          Start at 2:38:20 into the video of the May 26th meeting for the brief presentation:

  3. pterrence

    I understand that there is a current city policy/ordinance that all road construction and major repair projects  will  extend/renew the city’s telecommunications network. Can someone confirm this and confirm that the resulting network segments will support broadband/fiber?

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