City government

Council asked to approve front-loaded pavement maintenance funding strategy

By From page A1 | May 19, 2013

The City Council will be asked Tuesday to approve a heavily front-loaded pavement maintenance funding strategy — totaling $25 million over the next two years — that would set the city on a better road to addressing its quickly deteriorating street and bike path network.

In February, the council learned that the city had built up a backlog of pavement maintenance work that would cost upwards of $440 million by 2032 if funding levels were left at $1 million, or less, in future budgets.

The majority of the city’s streets and a quarter of its greenbelts would fail by 2032 if funding levels stayed static as well.

With the council clear in its intentions to meet this challenge head on — requesting in April for proposals on a large infusion of cash into pavement maintenance — staff will propose allocating $15 million in the upcoming year’s budget, $10 million the following year and $3 million every year after that in order to get out in front of the deferred maintenance issue.

The council’s meeting will start at 6:30 p.m. in the Community Chambers of City Hall, 23 Russell Blvd. It can be viewed live on Comcast Channel 16 or AT&T U-Verse Channel 99. The city also will steam the meeting live on its website at www.cityofdavis.org/media.

Alternatively, council members could consider a funding option that would require the city to drum up $55 million over the next six years. Staff says that type of investment would keep the annual average cost “relatively low” after the first six years and the backlog “low” as well.

They add, however, that the city would have difficulty coming up with that $55 million.

Whichever strategy the council endorses, throwing tens of millions of dollars at the problem is only part of the solution.

Public works staff also have crafted a maintenance strategy that spells out how the approved funding would be distributed to the various streets and bike paths that are in need of maintenance in town.

Staff proposes to prioritize the city’s roads, starting with arterials — or higher volume thoroughfares such as those serving commercial zones, parks, schools, public facilities and bus routes — at the top and setting a pavement condition index goal for those roads at 68.

The city then would then allow PCI levels for collectors, or less traveled roads, to drop to 65 and the remaining local streets down to 60.

The average PCI in Davis is 62.

For bike paths, public works staff will recommend spending $13 million over the next 20 years to maintain the current $1.5 million backlog.

The initial funding for bike paths would be included in the $25 million that’s proposed for overall pavement maintenance. The cost would run about $2.5 million for the first two years and about $700,000 for every year after.

“The percentage of bicycle paths in ‘good’ condition will increase from 59.2 precent to 79.2 percent by 2032 (under this scenario),” the city’s staff report said. “The PCI of the overall bicycle network will improve from 59 to 67 in 20 years.”

If approved, the Bicycle Advisory Committee likely also would be asked to prioritize key greenbelts, similar to the roadways.

Staff also will ask the council for their blessing Tuesday to search out consultants for public outreach and pavement design for the overall maintenance plan.

Other council agenda items of note

* Staff will propose moving from a bimonthly utility billing schedule to monthly, which would cost the city about $280,000.

* The council will receive an update from public works staff on releasing a “request for qualifications” to begin the search for construction firms to compete for work on the $95 million wastewater treatment plant improvement project.

* Staff will recommend extending the contract of the firm hired by the city to negotiate with labor groups by $100,000.

* The council will be asked to approve of the draft planting plan for the North Davis Riparian Greenbelt project.

* The council will host a landmark designation public hearing for an old fraternity building at 445 Russell Blvd.

— Reach Tom Sakash at [email protected] or 530-747-8057. Follow him on Twitter at @TomSakash

Tom Sakash

Tom Sakash covers the city beat for The Davis Enterprise. Reach him at [email protected], (530) 747-8057 or @TomSakash.
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