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For Immediate Release

Pothole in rainsteamrollerrepaved street in El Cerrito

“Good” Grade Proves Elusive for
Bay Area’s Streets and Roads

Regional Average Unchanged for Fourth Consecutive Year

John Goodwin, MTC: (510) 817-5862
Randy Rentschler, MTC: (510) 817-5780

OAKLAND, Calif., Oct. 22, 2013 ...The pavement on the Bay Area’s nearly 43,000 lane-miles of local streets and roads remains in “fair” condition, with the typical stretch of asphalt showing serious wear and likely to require rehabilitation soon. Data released today by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) puts the region’s 2012 pavement condition index (PCI) score at 66 out of a maximum possible 100 points, as calculated on a three-year moving average basis. This marks the fourth consecutive year the region has registered an average PCI score of 66, a reading that has not varied by more than two points since 2006.

“Restoring the Bay Area’s transportation system to a state of good repair has long been one of the Commission’s top priorities,” commented MTC Chair Amy Rein Worth, who also serves as Mayor of Orinda. “For local streets and roads, the goal is to get every one of our cities and counties to a score of 75 or better. Most cities’ pavement maintenance needs have far outstripped available funds for many years, so holding the line at a regional average of 66 can be seen as a partial victory. But we’ve also seen that big improvements are possible if local voters decide streets and roads are an important civic priority.  The best example is El Cerrito, which passed a half-cent sales tax in 2008 to finance a very successful citywide street improvement program. I expect to see equally impressive results soon in both Orinda and Moraga, where voters last fall approved similar half-cent sales tax measures.”

MTC’s Regional Streets and Roads Program later this year will recognize El Cerrito for having the most improved pavement conditions of any jurisdiction in the Bay Area. The Contra Costa County city boosted its one-year PCI score to 85 (very good) in 2012 from just 48 (poor) in 2006, and raised its three-year average to 84 from 62 (fair) in 2010. The Regional Streets and Roads Program also will recognize the cities of Brentwood and Dublin for the achievements made in 2012 by their pavement maintenance programs. Brentwood and Dublin have consistently posted some of the highest average PCI scores in the region.

PCI scores of 90 or higher are considered “excellent.” These are newly built or resurfaced streets that show little or no distress. Pavement with a PCI score in the 80 to 89 range is considered “very good,” and shows only slight or moderate distress, requiring primarily preventive maintenance.  The “good” category ranges from 70 to 79, while streets with PCI scores in the “fair” (60-69) range are becoming worn to the point where rehabilitation may be needed to prevent rapid deterioration. Because major repairs cost five to 10 times more than routine maintenance, these streets are at an especially critical stage. Roadways with PCI scores of 50 to 59 are deemed “at-risk,” while those with PCI scores of 25 to 49 are considered “poor.” These roads require major rehabilitation or reconstruction. Pavement with a PCI score below 25 is considered “failed.” These roads are difficult to drive on and need reconstruction.

The lowest-ranked pavement in the Bay Area was found in the Marin County city of Larkspur and the Napa County city of St. Helena, each of which recorded a PCI score of 42 for 2010-12.

“There are thousands of miles of streets and roads around the Bay Area with PCI scores below 60,” explained MTC Vice Chair and Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese. “That’s the point at which the deterioration of pavement rapidly accelerates. MTC has been working with cities and counties to make it possible for them to invest in both preventive maintenance and in rehabilitation, and I am pleased to see that Santa Clara County and every one of our 15 cities are reporting an average PCI score above 60.”

In addition to Larkspur and St. Helena, other jurisdictions with three-year average PCI scores below the 60-point threshold include Albany, Belmont, Berkeley, Calistoga, Cotati, East Palo Alto, Half Moon Bay, Moraga, Oakland, Orinda, Pacifica, Petaluma, Rio Vista, San Anselmo, San Leandro, Vallejo, and unincorporated Marin, Napa and Sonoma counties.

The complete 2012 Bay Area Pavement Conditions Summary — including percentages of local roadways in “excellent” or “very good” and “poor” or “failed” condition, and a listing of average PCI scores for the arterials, collector roadways and residential streets — in all Bay Area counties and cities is available here.

MTC is the transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area.

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