Sonoma County to expand road maintenance list - a bit

About 5.7 miles of road in unincorporated Sonoma County could be restored to regular long-term maintenance with a vote today by county supervisors.

The move would increase by 4 percent the current network of county roads targeted for long-term upkeep.

County officials acknowledged the gain would be marginal.

The 10 identified road segments include two miles of Bennett Valley Road outside of Santa Rosa, nearly a mile of Verano Avenue outside Sonoma and shorter stretches of main roads beyond the city limits in Rohnert Park and Petaluma.

If approved by supervisors, those segments would join the 150 miles of road already in the county's so-called "priority road network." That select list represents the only roads targeted for long-term surface maintenance out of the county's 1,387-mile network.

Supervisors decided last year cited budget constraints when they voted to limit upkeep on the remainder of the network to routine fixes, including brush clearing, pothole and storm repair.

The controversial decision meant that more than 1,200 miles of county roads would essentially be allowed to fail within 10 years, public works officials said. Some are to be converted to gravel surfaces.

The latest additions to the top-priority network were made with several criteria in mind, officials said. Those included:

-- A higher volume of traffic than noted in previous county studies, above 4,500 trips per day.

-- The roads qualified as arterial routes and major traffic collectors, thus meeting the threshold for federal funding assistance. A .38-mile stretch of Todd Road south of Santa Rosa between Phillips Avenue and Stony Point Road is proposed for removal from long-term maintenance because it does not qualify for such federal funding.

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