Potholes to be filled, road repaired this summer

A motorist tries to dodge severe potholes on Old County Road. Dear Street Smarts, Q: I have enclosed some photos taken Sunday, March 14th on Old County Road in Ben Lomond, off of Hillside (one of the photos appears here in Street Smarts). I hope you can see that this road is in serious trouble. Those of us who have to drive it can no longer drive it without the possibility of damage to our cars. The potholes are filled with water in most of the shots, but let me tell you they are deep. All of these photos are taken just a few yards apart. I hope the Sentinel can shed some light on this problem. Thank you, Wendy Russell, Ben Lomond A: Expect the ride on Old County Road to be smoother late this summer. That’s when the county plans to get out there and do some drainage work, as well as repave some of the worst sections, said Steve Wiesner, assistant director of the county public works department. “The work will most likely begin in July or August,” he said. Wiesner explained that stagnant funding means the county is limited in the road maintenance it can do. “Taxes charged to property owners in our county and state gas tax funds provide the only steady revenue sources for road maintenance in the unincorporated areas of our county,” he said. “These revenues have been flat for over 15 years. In fact, the gas tax revenue has declined in the past couple of years due to more gas efficient cars on the road and declining usage.” The county receives about $7.1 million annually to perform tasks, such as signing, striping, pot hole patching, storm patrol, road resurfacing, vegetation control, litter patrol, operations engineering, encroachments, storm damage repair, ditch cleaning and street sweeping, he said. “This, combined with labor, equipment and material increases – inflation -- over the last 15 years have made keeping up with regular road resurfacing challenging for the county,” Wiesner said. “Simply put, revenues have not kept up with inflation. These are the reasons why the department of public works has been focusing most of its resurfacing resources on major collectors and arterials, such as Soquel Drive, Soquel-San Jose Road, Bear Creek Road, Green Valley Road, Freedom Boulevard, Graham Hill Road and Summit Road.” Wiesner encourages you and your neighbors look into forming a County Service Area Subzone to pay for a road resurfacing program in your area. “With a enough participants, a contribution of $50-to-$60 a year could keep a road like Old County Road in great shape,” he said. For information, visit http://www.dpw.co.santa-cruz.ca.us/operation.htm, click the Residential Neighborhood Street Resurfacing Program tab.
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