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Encinitas street upgrades will start soon

A crew rehabs a road on D Street during a previous road overlay project. The city will begin repairing streets Sept. 15. Work is scheduled at night to minimize traffic impacts. Photo courtesy of city of Encinitas
( / City of Encinitas)

Two major thoroughfares and residential streets in Encinitas that haven’t been repaired in some time will soon receive a major facelift.

Starting Sept. 15, El Camino Real, from Mountain Vista to Via Molena, will be improved over a month. Leucadia Boulevard, from Piraeus Street to Saxony Road, will also be upgraded during the same period.

Crews will remove the top five inches of pavement and apply a “slurry seal” that fills in cracks, extending the road’s life, according to a city press release. Work will be done from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. to minimize traffic impacts.

Last month, the council awarded a $2.23 million contract to TC Construction Company for the roadwork.

Major repair work hasn’t been performed on the El Camino Real section since 2001. Likewise, it’s been 15 years for the Leucadia Boulevard portion, a recent city staff report stated.

Soon after those thoroughfares are complete, work will begin on residential streets, including a leg of Birmingham Drive, starting at Lake Drive and ending on Crest Drive.

City staff prioritizes road repairs based in part on ratings from a computer program called Streetsaver. The software uses an algorithm to analyze streets and generates road grades that range from 0 (failed streets) to 100 (new roads).

Fifty-one to 70 is considered fair, while 71 to 100 is good. Overall, the city’s streets are rated 75.1; the statewide average is 66.1.

Ed Deane, senior civil engineer with the city, said in an email that repair work draws upon two strategies: rehabilitation and preservation.

“The difference between the two is that rehabilitation restores the structural capacity of the roadway, while preservation preserves the existing capacity,” Deane said. “Preservation strategies are applied to roadways in better condition as it is more cost effective to preserve the existing roadway than to rehabilitate a failed roadway.”

While the road contract was awarded last month, the council voted 3-2 last spring to dedicate $2.23 million toward street maintenance, an increase of nearly $1 million from prior years.

As part of the same budget, the council majority also approved $13 million in bonds to fund a new Moonlight Beach lifeguard tower and the Pacific View site purchase. Those council members argued the projects are worthy expenditures that won’t impact the city’s AAA credit rating.

Mayor Kristin Gaspar, who voted against the budget, believes more money should have been dedicated to core services like road maintenance.

This week, Gaspar said she favored a funding alternative that would have allotted $3.26 million to street repairs and maintenance annually over the next five years. This approach, according to a city analysis, would have preserved the overall road score at 75.

“I leaned toward that option and would have been interested in even more money for roads,” Gaspar said.

Gaspar noted if the council continues allocating $2.23 million annually toward road maintenance, the city’s road rating would slip to 72 by 2018.

“It would represent a decline in our streets,” Gaspar said.

The city recently launched Pavement Profiler, a map showing the condition of city streets and when work was last completed. Pavement Profiler and a full list of city residential streets that will be upgraded in the near future can be found at www.ci.encinitas.ca.us.


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