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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.

-- The selected roads were in fairly good condition and could be kept that way at minimal cost.

--They are at the outskirts of cities, some of which pressed to have the roads restored to the maintenance list.

Rohnert Park officials, for example, lobbied to have county stretches of Snyder Lane and East Cotati Avenue put back on the priority list. The roads are regionally important feeders into the city and Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park officials said.

Both are among the 5.7 miles of roads to be considered by supervisors today.

"We are glad they're putting them back on," said Darrin Jenkins, the Rohnert Park city engineer.

Supervisor Valerie Brown, who represents Sonoma Valley and east Santa Rosa, said she was happy to see the two-mile stretch of Bennett Valley back on the list. She had lobbied for its inclusion as a "major corridor" between Sonoma Valley and the Highway 101 corridor.

"It was an absolute necessity," she said of the move to return the segment back to long-term maintenance.

About 3.7 miles of the proposed additions are in Brown's First District. The remaining two miles are split between Supervisor Shirlee Zane's Third District, David Rabbitt's Second District and Efren Carrillo's Fifth District. Supervisor Mike McGuire's Fourth District did not have any additions in the current proposal.

Phil Demery, the county's public works director, said county political lines were not a factor in the decision of what roads to include in the proposal.

"We didn't even look at that," he said.

The county's main source of maintenance funding — gas taxes — has failed to keep pace with road upkeep in recent years. The county network — the largest rural road system in the Bay Area — has fallen into disrepair as a result, with the county ranking worst or second worst in the nine-county region for road conditions the past seven years, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Commission

But keeping all the roads in their current shape would cost $55 million a year, more than 10 times the county pavement preservation budget for this year, county officials said.

A public workshop planned in the next two months will allow for discussion of strategies to deal with the maintenance backlog and funding shortfall.

Key questions will be how to enlarge the priority network and what to do with the remainder of the roads that are limited to only routine upkeep, said Demery, the public works director.

"We need some sort of venue where we can get that public input," he said.