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On the road to improvement
roads pic
Work is slated to begin soon on some much needed repairs on Fulkerth Road. - photo by FRANKIE TOVAR / The Journal

For those Turlock residents tired of dodging potholes and bouncing along bumpy streets — and really, who isn’t? — there is cause to smile as the city takes some initial steps toward road improvements.

On Tuesday night the Turlock City Council approved by a 5-0 vote the funding of a Pavement Management Project, an in-depth analysis of the city’s network of streets. The PMP generates a Pavement Condition Index, which gives each street a rating, that will help officials designate which projects have the highest priority, as well as open the door to state and federal grants that could help pay for the repairs and maintenance needed.

“This helps us determine what roads have the greatest need and will do the most good,” said Director of Development Services and City Engineer Michael Pitcock. “Typically, the focus is on arterial roads that carry the most people.”

The PMP is a comprehensive survey of streets that measures the overall health of the pavement. Surveyors drive and visually inspect the network of roads and assign them a PCI ranging from 0 to 100.

The City has agreed to pay $28,620 to Nichols Consulting Engineers for a PMP of 179 centerline miles of roadways in Turlock. The city is signing on the survey as part of a larger scope of work being undertaken by the Stanislaus Council of Governments.

StanCOG, with the support of the local agencies in the region, secured federal funding to conduct a county PCI in this current fiscal year. By participating in the regional project, Turlock gets the benefit of a whole city survey, while only paying a small portion of it.

Turlock’s last PCI was conducted in 2008. In that survey Turlock had an average PCI of 59, which put it in the mid range of the “Satisfactory” category.

In that same report it was recommended the city would need to spend $144.9 million through 2013 to reach a PCI in the low to mid 80s. To keep Turlock’s streets at the status quo PCI of 59, the report stated the city would need to spend about $9 million in annually on repairs and maintenance.

Since 2008, the city engineering department has been funded between $1 million to $2 million annually for street improvements.

The cost of repairing and maintain roads is dependent on its PCI. A road that has a good ranking might just need some minor repairs that usually cost less than $2 per square yard. Roads that are showing more signs of stress will need more extensive work, which can run up to about $60 per square yard.

Typically, newer neighborhoods will see frequent street maintenance work, while some of the older neighborhoods, with some of the worst roads in the city, continue to see their streets deteriorate even more. Usually it’s because the newer developments are in assessment districts.

Since the 1990s, all new subdivisions and commercial enterprises have had to pay assessment fees, which in part, are used to fund regular preventive street maintenance. By law these funds have to be spent within the assessment district and cannot be used in other neighborhoods.

The city won’t have to wait for the PMP to start seeing some road improvements. Work is slated to begin soon on some much needed repairs on Fulkerth Road.

The Fulkerth Road Rehabilitation Project extends from Golden State Boulevard to Highway 99.

The City Council voted to spend $884,488 for the rehabilitation project. Most of the project is being paid for by state and federal funds, but $192,800 will be appropriated from the city’s gas tax funds.

The project was awarded to the Granite Construction Company out of Watsonville and will mark the first time rubberized asphalt is used in the city. Rubberized asphalt is made from recycled tires and has a longer service life with less maintenance and reduces noise. To offset the cost of using the rubberized asphalt, the City received a grant of $122,500 from CalRecycle.

“It’s the next phase in the evolution of asphalt,” Pitcock said.

Under the same federal grant project funding the Fulkerth rehabilitation, the city will be starting a road rehabilitation project sometime in the summer on Monte Vista Avenue, from Crowell Road to Geer Road.