This year figures to be a hold-the-line year when it comes to Napa County’s road network, as the county Public Works Department has scheduled $675,000 in surface-treatment projects on 17 miles of roads in the unincorporated area.
The work will focus on roads surrounding Calistoga and the Napa County Airport, and follows a series of larger, more expensive overlay projects that were completed in 2012.
The projects near Calistoga will cost $159,964 and cover sealant treatments on 5.58 miles of roads. The projects will be paid for with money the Board of Supervisors has already approved.
In the south county, the projects will cost $515,193 and cover surface treatments on 11.64 miles of roads. These are funded with the last bit of money the county will get from Proposition 1B, the statewide transportation bond program voters approved in 2006.
While the Supervisors approved an additional $1 million for roads during their budget hearings last June, the roads fund is still waiting for reimbursement by the Federal Emergency Management Agency for repairs the county paid for following the floods of 2005.
That’s created a cash-flow problem, and led Public Works to delay dedicating the latest $1 million for another year, Deputy Public Works Director Rick Marshall said Friday. He said the county should resolve this issue this year.
“We can spend the money next year,” Marshall said.
Marshall said work on the projects will start in the spring or summer, and most of them will need only a day or two to complete. The timing will allow Public Works to avoid the kind of traffic disruptions that occurred last fall on main thoroughfares such as Silverado Trail.
Targeted roads will be covered with a sealant, not an asphalt overlay.
Marshall said the projects were picked with the help of a computer model that analyzes the condition of the county’s road network, and ranks projects based on their cost-effectiveness and their ability to extend the lifespan of the road.
Surface treatments are applied on relatively healthy roads, while overlays and rebuilds are needed when their condition deteriorates further.
“Keeping the good ones good is really the most cost-effective use of our funds,” Marshall said.
He said the decision to focus on the areas near Calistoga and the airport is based on a desire to minimize the impacts of construction to residents and drivers.
“It’s better to try and package them to do a neighborhood at once,” Marshall said.
Marshall said the projects this year won’t do much to improve the overall health of the network, as measured by its pavement-condition index number, but will help things from becoming worse — and thus more expensive to fix in the future.
Bigger fixes are in the works, Marshall notes. The Board of Supervisors has pledged to increase funding from the county’s general fund for roads in the run up to 2018, when money from Measure T becomes available.
“This is really just going to help us hold steady,” Marshall said.