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Fresno Needs $500 Million to Climb Out of Holes in the Road



The city of Fresno estimates it will cost $500 million to rebuild the deteriorating roads that make up about one-third of streets. (GV Wire File)
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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.

Mayor Jerry Dyer thanks public works employees behind him for fixing Fresno roads. (GV Wire/Jahz Tello)

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.

“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.

Watch: City of Fresno Anti-Flooding System

Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email