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Turlock roadways 'at-risk'
Report finds a quarter of city roads in poor condition
turlock roadways pic
A recent pavement study found that nearly a quarter of Turlocks roadways are in a poor or failed condition. - photo by Journal file photo

A recent report on the condition of Turlock’s roadways was not what the City might consider good news, as Turlock’s roadway system was found to be the “second-worst in the county.”

According to Margot Yapp, vice president of Nichols Consulting Engineers, the group that conducted the pavement study, Turlock’s roads are considered “at-risk” and will continue to get worse if not properly maintained.

Currently, nearly a quarter of Turlock’s roadways are in a “poor or failed” condition, marking what Yapp referred to as a “significant red flag.”

“We found that there are some significant red flags here that will have consequences in the future,” said Yapp, who presented her findings to the Turlock City Council. “As a policy maker, you need to decide what your goal is.”

With a current Pavement Condition Index of 67, on a 0-100 scale, Turlock’s entire roadway system was valued at approximately $357 million. While not at the bottom of the list for worst roadway conditions in the county, Turlock came fairly close, just barely surpassing the City of Modesto whose roadway conditions had a PCI of 63.

Requested by the Stanislaus Council of Governments, the county’s regional transportation planning agency, the study was conducted to assess the conditions of all federally-funded roadways within Stanislaus. Although the initial study was fully funded by a StanCOG grant, the City of Turlock opted to spend $28,000 of its own funds to have Nichols Consulting Engineers study all 251 miles of Turlock roadways, including residential areas.

According to Yapp, a PCI score of 70 to 100 is considered “good or excellent” while a score of 50 to 70 is deemed “at-risk,” meaning Turlock’s roadways may face a dismal, and costly, future. If maintenance is continually put off, Yapp reported that the cost associated with Turlock’s roads will increase significantly.

During her presentation, Yapp reported that the costs associated with resurfacing a road currently in “good” condition is projected to be about $4.50 per square-yard – a small cost compared to fixing a road that has declined to the “failed” mark.

“If not maintained, and the road gets to the ‘failed’ condition, the cost will increase to about $62 per square yard to fix,” said Yapp, who stressed the importance of prioritizing road maintenance.

Noting that the City of Turlock currently has approximately $1.25 million to spend on roads per year, Yapp said that if the same level of funding road maintenance is continued, the City’s PCI would drop from 67 to 33 in just 20 years, putting half of Turlock’s roads into the “failed” condition.

While the future of Turlock’s roads did not look too promising during her report, Yapp shared that a half-cent sales tax could help the City drastically.

“By 2032, half of Turlock’s roads will be in the failed condition,” said Yapp, “unless using a half-cent sales tax to go towards roads, which can prevent that from happening significantly.”

Although a half-cent sales tax would essentially flat-line Turlock’s PCI over the next 20 years, the estimated extra $5 million for road repairs would prevent road conditions from plummeting.

 If the City wished to improve to a PCI of 80, putting the roadway system into the “good or excellent” category, Yapp said that nearly $11.4 million would be required in road maintenance each year for the span of 20 years.

Many Turlock officials have publicly supported a half-cent sales tax that would be restricted to road improvements, however, the additional tax could only be implemented if voted on favorably by residents in future elections.