Pothole complaints increased eight times over normal during the recent storms. But, the city of Fresno says it’s fixing them at a rapid pace.
Mayor Jerry Dyer held a Thursday news conference to thank public works staff for fixing potholes and clearing downed trees.
“What they’ve done is nothing short of miraculous in our city,” Dyer said.
Watch: Over 500M to Fully Repair Fresno’s Roads
Part of the reason was planning ahead. The city set aside $2.8 million for tree trimming, something not done before. City Manager Georgeanne White said decades of planning by the Fresno Metropolitan Flood Control District sent excess water into ponding basins. This spared Fresno the flooding fate of some other Central Valley cities.
Breakdown of Fresno Road Needs
Dyer provided a sobering statistic.
“We’re somewhere around $500 million behind schedule in terms of our paving of streets. And so the older the street, the more cracks it gets. When it rains, heavy storm water seeps through those cracks and we end up getting the erosion effect and ultimately a pothole,” Dyer said.
The city provided other figures about the magnitude of bringing Fresno streets up to muster:
- Average “street rating” (rated 0-100): 60. Fresno roads are divided evenly (one-third each) between good (70-100), fair (50-70), and at-risk (0-50);
- Spending needed to maintain Fresno streets: $35 million a year;
- Spending needed to bring streets from “fair” to “good”: an additional $51 million a year;
- Current spending on streets: $12 million;
- $1.6 million this year on preventative maintenance, specifically to slurry seal 28 miles;
- $5 million to reconstruct one mile of First Street, between Tulare and Olive;
- 180,000 pounds of asphalt cold mix used this month (10 times more than normal);
- Value of Fresno streets: $4.5 billion.
Dyer and his management team said help is on the way from various federal and state resources. There is $14 million in federal pandemic relief funds. And, Public Works Director Scott Mozier said another $23 million will be en route over the next few years.
We hear you Fresno!!! After the recent series of storms, we received hundreds of calls about potholes throughout the city.
Six crews have been working ten hours a day filling those potholes you reported and many others they proactively found. pic.twitter.com/2pBB5cDA2F
— City of Fresno (@CityofFresno) January 26, 2023
“There is a lot of federal dollars that are out there today under a number of Biden propositions,” Dyer said. They include the Inflation Reduction Act and the Build Back Better program.
While the intent is for infrastructure like bridges and rails, Dyer said neighborhood streets need the most attention.
Fresno City Council President Tyler Maxwell added that the city will apply for state and federal grants. His focus is on neighborhood roads as well.
Dyer Says Measure C Negotiations Underway
Dyer said he started negotiations today for a new Measure C renewal, for the 2024 ballot. The countywide sales tax funds several road projects. A renewal to extend the tax failed in the November 2022 election.
“We’re going to work collectively together so we can get to the conditions of our roads improved with local measures and federal funding,” Dyer said.