By Thomas J. Sullivan–
A comprehensive re-evaluation of the condition of more than 200 miles of roadways in the Citrus Heights will begin soon, according to the city’s principal engineer.
“When this new survey is complete, it will be the first we’ve done since 2005,” said Stuart Hodgkins, who serves as principal city engineer in Citrus Heights. “We also know there are some city streets that haven’t been resurfaced since the city was incorporated in 1997.”
A call for bids from qualified civil engineering consultants with expertise in developing and updating Pavement Management Systems (PMS) has been sought to update the city’s current 2005 roads evaluation program. The city began interviewing candidates on July 23, with work to begin later next month once a consultant is selected.
The term “pavement management system,” or PMS, first came into popular use in the late 1960s and early ’70s to describe decision support tools directed toward achieving the best value for available municipal funds in providing and operating smooth, safe, and economical roadways.
“It’s long overdue,” Hodgkins said. “The current software is outdated, and a street-by-street assessment hasn’t been made in years.”
The selected consultant will perform an automated pavement condition survey of all paved public city streets and will update the city’s current computer-based system to Streetsaver, a web-based system. The consultant, who will meet with the city engineer, is also tasked to provide cost analysis for minor and major street repairs.
City staff will also receive training on the updated Streetsaver system, and a new priority-based pavement rehabilitation report will then be issued.
The evaluation process will include the calculation of the Pavement Condition Index (PCI) block-by-block, or at specific break points established by the city. The PCI rating scale considers 100 as excellent, 55 as good, 40 as fair and below 25 as poor.
“In the past, city engineers would visually look at individual segments of specific roads and make their recommendations,” Hodgkins said.
Vehicles equipped with digital cameras and sensors will map each street much more thoroughly looking at the surface and substrate of each foot they pass over, he said. “We’ll better be able to see what’s happening on the surface and below the surface of our roads, to determine the best practice for repair.”
Of 363 residential streets listed in the city’s most recent index, nearly 200 fall below a rating of 40.
Once all street surveys are completed and entered into the city’s new evaluation software system, a re-rating process will help prioritize which of the city’s arterial and residential streets should be repaired first.
Related: Here’s the list of streets Citrus Heights is slated to repave in the next year
Prioritizing which road repairs should be completed first is the chief goal of the new study, as progress is made towards finding new funding from Senate Bill 1 and other sources, Hodgkins said.
“We’re looking to double the number of road projects we can do each year,” he said. “Where we used to repair 5 to 6 streets, we want to do between 12 and 15 street projects.”
The lowest rated segment on the index is a 1,163-foot segment of Greenback Lane between Arcadia Drive and Sunrise Boulevard, which is rated at 26, just above poor. Madison Avenue between Almaden and Sunrise Boulevard is in second place with a rating of 30, tied with a portion of Van Maren Lane between Auburn Boulevard and Somersworth Drive.
Some segments of San Juan Avenue between Madison Avenue and Greenback Lane which are identified on the current PCI index are already undergoing an upgrade as part of the Safe Routes to Schools initiative.
Related: City continues multi-million dollar roadway upgrades near Citrus Heights schools
Additional streets falling into the “fair” category which will be evaluated by the city for improvement include 2,800 feet of Dewey Drive beginning at the city limits to Connemara Circle. Old Auburn Road between Fair Oaks Boulevard and Glen Echo Street is rated at 40, also earning a “fair” rating on the PCI scale.
What about Madison Avenue?
The poor condition of Madison Avenue along the border between Citrus Heights and Fair Oaks is one problem that the city is acutely aware of.
“The striped median is the dividing line,” Hodgkins said. “One side of Madison Avenue is under the jurisdiction of Sacramento County, and the other side is ours, belonging to the city of Citrus Heights.”
“It’s an inter-agency challenge for both parties to collaborate to find funding to repair the entire road,” he said.
Q&A: Why isn’t gas tax money going to repave major streets in Citrus Heights?
Hodgkins said he couldn’t make an accurate estimate as to the cost to completely repair Madison Avenue, but acknowledged it would be “well in the millions.”
“We will be working with Sacramento County throughout the rest of this year and next, to prioritize which segments of Madison Avenue can be repaired first,” he said.
The city is also taking an aggressive approach to dealing with public utility contractors who leave multiple temporary paving patches behind once they’ve finished their underground work.
Utility contractors now know 18 months in advance of scheduling their underground work that they face a fine by the city for not restoring pavement and striping on time, he said.
“Typically, they’ll just wait until they’ve completed multiple projects before hiring a contractor to perform restorative paving and striping all at once,” Hodgkins said, noting that it’s been a habitual problem for the past decade.
“A utility may have temporary paving patches all over the place, which cause a very real hazard to drivers in the city,” he said. “We just don’t tolerate that anymore.”
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