Happy New Year! I hope you were able to enjoy a safe and restful holiday, taking joy in the December rain and our bright green Sonoma County hillsides. Like many, I have already dived headfirst back into work. At our first meeting of 2022, the Board of Supervisors heard a presentation from the Department of Transportation and Public Works with a 10-year report on the Pavement Preservation Program and Long Term Road Program for Sonoma County roads.
Interestingly enough, these 10 years align almost exactly with my tenure as Supervisor, and a lot has changed over the last ten years. In that span, the Board has invested $128.8 million discretionary dollars in paving projects, with 412 miles of county roads paved as a result. That represents 30% of the county’s 1,368-mile road network.
Importantly, we have also invested in how we measure improvements in roads projects, and thus plan for future investment, via our Pavement Management System and our roads’ Pavement Condition Index (PCI). In 2012, the PCI for county roads as a whole was at 44; it is now at 52, constituting a 20% improvement. Additionally, the county’s Long Term Roads Plan, established in 2014, helps to guide the selection of roads to be paved based on key attributes, including traffic volume, pavement condition, bike/transit relevance, and public safety facilities served by the road.
The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors contributes more General Fund dollars than any other California county to fund roads projects. The 10-year report demonstrated a marked improvement in our roads, but as Supervisor, I know there is always more we can do. Ongoing investment aligns strongly with the county’s Resilient Infrastructure pillar, one of five pillars in the county’s Strategic Plan, and I am confident roads remain a priority for your Board.
So, what can we expect over the next two years? For the 2022/2023 paving cycle, $40.5 million dollars will be spent towards the paving of 43 miles of roadways. For the First District, this includes (but is not limited to) several roads in the Springs, including sections of Craig Ave, Verano Ave, and Petaluma Ave, as well as portions of Bennett Valley Rd and Petrified Forest Rd. This two-year paving cycle will also see an additional infusion of investment from the Board of Supervisors via PG&E Settlement Funds, adding an additional $20 million dollars for paving projects over the next 3 years.
The PG&E funds are allocated specifically towards roads impacted by the 2017 Sonoma Complex fires and the resulting debris cleanup and rebuilding efforts. I know there are many fire-impacted roads in the First District in desperate need of improvement, and I am happy to see these projects now on the horizon.
And even with all of this progress, I know there are so many roads in District 1 that haven’t been repaved in over 40 years because I hear almost daily from so many of you. Continue to send in requests for repaving, as we keep a spreadsheet of all of the roads that need to be prioritized for repaving over the next 5-6 years. At one point I appointed a small group of district residents to investigate the road pavement conditions throughout the district to help prioritize the roads, but the fires disrupted our conversations. If you interested in helping with that for the future, please let me know. And I will be working with a few of the members from each of the Municipal Advisory Councils to help within the boundaries of those two districts.