It's been one big step backward and two big steps forward for heavily traveled Dry Creek Road just north of the city of Napa.
The step back came late last week. Dry Creek Road for the one-mile section from Napa city limits to Orchard Avenue had become a dirt road. Cars driving on it kicked up a cloud of dust if the watering truck hadn’t been by recently.
It seemed like old times — old, as in a century ago. A horse-and-buggy wouldn’t have been out of place.
Napa County is renovating Dry Creek Road. This goes beyond merely repaving the old road, which had many cracks in the asphalt. County officials decided that, given the road condition and heavy traffic, a rebuild was needed.
A rebuild is just as drastic as it sounds.
"Yes, it's essentially a new road," county Public Works Director Steven Lederer said.
Workers tore out the pavement last week. At one point, a pilot car led traffic as only half the dirt road was open. Bikers, runners and walkers tried to avoid the dust kicked up by passing vehicles, some of which seemed to drive as fast as ever.
On Monday, a steamroller tamped down a new layer of asphalt in one lane, while the other lane remained dirt. The new Dry Creek Road was emerging.
Paving will be finished by end of the month, Lederer said. Such things as striping and some remaining chores will be done by mid-October.
While the old pavement can no longer be seen, it is still present in a sense. Lederer said the project is using Full Depth Reclamation. The old pavement is ground up and reused as material upon which the new pavement is placed.
“It’s economical and environmentally friendly,” Lederer said.
Money for the project is coming from the county’s settlement with Pacific Gas and Electric in the wake of the Atlas and Partrick/Nuns fires. A Cal Fire report blamed PG&E lines on sparking the Atlas and Partrick fires on a windy night in 2017.
Granite Construction Co. is doing both the Dry Creek rebuild and a similar project on Partrick Road for a total of $1.4 million.
The Dry Creek project doesn't address the pavement on Dry Creek Road beyond Orchard Avenue. It's one bumpy ride there, with cracks and potholes common. Drivers might wish the road rebuilding crew would push north for least another half-mile — and it might happen yet.
Assuming enough PG&E settlement money remains, the county plans to continue up Dry Creek Road next year and repair that section, Lederer said.
Local motorists in the coming weeks will see other Napa County road projects going on outside of the cities. Airport Boulevard in the airport industrial area is being rebuilt.
Less extensive overlay work — repaving as opposed to rebuilding — will begin on Silverado Trail from Hardman Avenue to Oak Knoll Avenue next week. Silverado Trail sections from Trancas Street to Hardman Avenue and Oak Knoll Avenue to Yountville were recently repaved.
The overlay will work begin in early October on Atlas Peak Road from the William Hill Estate Winery to Westgate Drive; on Westgate Drive, Hillcrest Drive, Maui Way and Pinnacle Peak St. in Silverado; on Second Avenue in Coombsville and on Soda Canyon Road from Silverado Trail to Loma Vista Drive.
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