What goes into maintaining Santa Clarita streets?

City Hall on Thursday, June 14, 2018. Eddy Martinez/The Signal

In my meetings with residents and community leaders over the years, one of the most important topics discussed is traffic and road conditions in Santa Clarita. Street maintenance remains one of the top priorities in our City because it ensures we have the right infrastructure in place to support the needs of the community.

Now is the time of year when the City of Santa Clarita begins its annual overlay and slurry seal program, known as Road Rehab. Overlay is a rehabilitation treatment for our roads, which involves grinding up old asphalt and applying finely crushed aggregate and new asphalt to a road. Slurry seal, on the other hand, is a maintenance measure that works to extend the life of roads with a new coating of asphalt.

These treatments are used on both major arterial roads in Santa Clarita and in residential areas to ensure our streets are properly maintained in the most cost-effective way.

Many have asked how streets are selected to be included in the Road Rehab project each summer. To accomplish the goal of lowering costs while improving overall road conditions, the City is guided by the principle of doing the right thing, to the right road, at the right time. In an effort to maximize the effectiveness of the annual Road Rehab budget, City staff work to identify the arterial and residential streets most in need of attention using a data-driven process.

The City utilizes a management program called StreetSaver that identifies roads needing maintenance and rehabilitation by giving each road in Santa Clarita a priority score. This score is comprised of an average daily traffic (ADT) number and the road’s pavement condition index (PCI), which is an industry standard metric that takes into account issues such as structural integrity, potholes and more.

Major arterial streets make up 45% of the annual project. Once these streets have been assigned a priority score, those with the highest priority are grouped by geographic location with nearby streets to reduce the costs and delays associated with mobilizing crews and equipment.

Our residential streets also account for 45% of the project. Each area of the City – Newhall, Saugus, Valencia and Canyon Country – has streets selected in the same manner while also accounting for costs based on five-year needs. The remaining portion of the Road Rehab budget is dedicated to preventative maintenance to keep streets from needing critical repairs in the future.

This approach to road maintenance has helped the City improve its overall PCI score over the past five years by three points, meaning that streets in Santa Clarita as a whole are smoother, stronger and better maintained than they have been in the past.

More information about the 2019 Road Rehab program will be made available in the coming weeks, and residents who will be affected by overlay and slurry seal projects in their neighborhoods will be directly notified prior to construction. In the meantime, I encourage you to visit santa-clarita.com/RoadRehab to learn more about everything that goes into this important process.

Ken Striplin can be reached at [email protected]. The views expressed in his column are those of the city and do not necessarily reflect those of The Signal.

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