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Concord council sees road repairs as key priority

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These days, the most frequent complaint I receive relates to the condition of Concord’s roads.

I understand how important the condition of our city’s roads is to residents and businesses. After all, pavement and potholes provide a first impression when someone drives into our community, be it a potential resident, customer, developer or commercial tenant. And, deteriorating pavement can lead to frustrating and premature wear and tear on vehicles.

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The city owns and maintains about 310 centerline miles of city streets. As with many cities in the Bay Area, it is challenging to maintain our current road network with limited funds.

Concord’s deferred infrastructure maintenance comprises the lion’s share of the city’s unfunded liabilities, a situation faced by many California cities. Our current Pavement Condition Index (PCI) is 60 out of 100. The city would need to spend $85 million over the next five years just to maintain that level.

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However, in spring 2018, when the City Council approved a five-year pavement expenditure plan, only $27 million was available. This amount includes additional funding sources such as Measure Q sales tax revenue, the gas tax and SB1 transportation money.

We developed the five-year plan using a Critical Point Management (CPM) approach. To inform the plan, an engineer reviewed the city’s Pavement Management Plan database, mapped candidate streets, subdivided the city’s five street zones by treatment and made field observations.

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CPM recognizes that pavements require different types of treatments at different times along their lifecycle. The intent is to select and schedule a pavement’s needed treatment before it deteriorates to the point where the next, more aggressive and costly treatment is required. The goal is to provide the right treatment at the right time to the right pavement.

Concord focuses on a multifaceted effort in pavement maintenance. This includes: 1. localized pavement repairs (potholes and base failures). 2. preventive maintenance. 3. pavement rehabilitation. 4. major street repair and reconstruction projects. This is in addition to the annual street maintenance work the Public Works Department performs.

The city’s goal is to program the work as funding sources permit and to maintain the newer conditions effectively to preserve the quality of our paving efforts to date.

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To stretch tax dollars for paving, the city utilizes the Pavement Management Plan to catalog pavement condition assessments, maintenance activities and project pavement deterioration, as well as the repair cost of Concord’s street inventory. The program is designed to make recommendations on how to cost-effectively use available resources to maintain the city’s streets at the highest level possible.

The City Council takes the condition of our roads seriously, and we are always looking for new dollars to put toward pavement improvements. For example, at the Feb. 26, 2018, meeting, we voted to earmark the $400,000 budget surplus from the last fiscal year toward filling potholes created by rain this past winter. We also leverage our existing transportation dollars by applying for county, regional, state and federal dollars to get as much bang for our roadwork buck as possible.

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Our goal is for our PCI to improve and for Concord’s roads to once again be a point of pride.

You can send questions and comments to the mayor by email to Carlyn.Obringer@cityofconcord.org

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