Tri-annually the Bureau of Street Services (BSS) conducts a survey of our streets. The resulting score is known as the pavement condition index (PCI). This score takes into account several variables which include visible street condition, the frequency of traffic, and the weight of traffic loads. Typically, an asphalt road on a major street is expected to last 15 to 20 years. For residential streets, the life expectancy is between 30 and 35 years. This life expectancy requires ongoing maintenance and is negatively impacted when utilities cut into the road.
The PCI score is important because it determines which solution is appropriate for a repair. For moderate and high scoring streets, a slurry seal will likely restore the street. Most instances of resurfacing are, in fact, slurry seals. The seal is not as invasive as a resurfacing, yet, it provides more years of passability and resolves many of the immediate safety concerns. The BSS spends approximately 80% of their resurfacing funds on normal resurfacing projects and 20% on failed streets. This allocation helps promote the longevity of more streets and prevent them from becoming failed streets. However, to address the large number of failed streets in the West Valley I have worked with BSS to address more of the failed streets in my district. As a result, in 2018 approximately 51% of the funding for my district went to fix failed streets.
The estimated cost to repair all of the streets in the city is approximately $4 billion, whereas the City has a budget for street reconstruction and resurfacing of approximately $180 million per year spread out across all Council districts and 6,500 miles of streets. Unfortunately, the Great Recession reduced the amount of resources the City had, including for street maintenance. This caused a backlog of deferred maintenance that the City is allocating more resources each year to address. Thanks to the voters’ decision to fund Measure M, the City now has additional funding to pay for road repairs. Some of these additional funds include the gas tax (also called SB 1) and sales tax (from country measures M and R). As chair of the Public Works and Gang Reduction committee, I am working to ensure that these funds are spent effectively to address the backlog of deferred maintenance, including your street.
At the start of 2019, I met with the City of Los Angeles’ Standards Division where our engineers test new materials for use on our streets. Specifically, I was speaking with the engineers and scientists who have been testing the efficacy of an innovative new material called “1781” that will dramatically lower the cost to repair poor or failed streets by approximately ten times. You can read more about the “1781 mix” in this report from the Bureau of Street Services. When we repave smarter and more cost effectively we can repave more of our streets.
If you want to know the PCI score of your street, want to find out if it is on the list of streets to be repaired this year, or want to urge that your street be on a future repair list, please contact Mirna Esquivel in my office at [email protected] or call 818-774-4330.