A plan to preserve decent pavement on an additional 63 miles of county roads — at a cost of $4.5 million a year — will be considered by the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.
To pay for the work, the board will review cost-cutting options such as turning roadside brush clearing over to private property owners and a menu of suggested tax increases.
Residents and board members may bristle at some of the proposals, said Phil Demery, county transportation and public works director, but they warrant consideration by a public fed up with bumpy roads.
"We all know the roads are in bad shape in the county," Demery said.
Bennett Valley Community Association leaders have notified their 280-member households of the plan, and some will attend Tuesday's board meeting to lobby for a 5.4-mile stretch of Bennett Valley Road from Grange Road to Warm Springs Road.
"It's like a lifeline," said Larissa Goliti, the vice president of the association vice president who lives on Pressley Road.
For Goliti and hundreds of others living on side roads, Bennett Valley Road is the only direct route to Santa Rosa to the west and Glen Ellen to the east.
Marilee Jensen, a Bardy Road resident and former association president, said the traffic volume on Bennett Valley Road justifies putting it on the priority list.
In this year's Bay Area road-quality rating, Sonoma County's 1,384-mile network of roads in the unincorporated area got a 45, described as "poor" on a 100-point scale, and second worst among nine counties and 100 cities in the region.
The new plan prepared by the Transportation and Public Works Department comes as a sequel to the supervisors' decision last October to designate 150 miles of heavily traveled roads for pavement preservation, which includes sealing and resurfacing as needed.
In August, six more miles of road were added to the list, and the priority maintenance list would expand by 63 miles — to 219 miles in all — if the recommended plan is adopted.
In addition to Bennett Valley Road, major segments on the addition list include 8.2 miles of Valley Ford Road from Highway 1 to Tomales Road and 6.1 miles of Graton Road from Bohemian Highway to Highway 116.
For a complete list of the road segments, go to <a href="http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20111023/ARTICLES/111029795/1350">www.pressdemocrat.com</a>.
The Public Works report notes than an 38 miles more could be added to the priority list for an additional $1 million.
All county roads not on the list — currently more than 1,200 miles — will be allowed to crumble and eventually be converted from asphalt to gravel.
A gravel test patch established on Sonoma Mountain Road is "horrible," Goliti said.
Filling potholes and other chores, including debris removal, drainage ditch and bridge maintenance, will continue on all roads, Demery said.
The county spends about $13.8 million a year on that works, with an additional $4.5 million on pavement preservation.
Adding segments of 39 different roads, totaling 63 miles, to the pavement preservation list would double the cost to $9 million a year, Demery said, because the cost per mile rises sharply for preserving more degraded roads.
Preserving the pavement on all 1,384 miles of county roads would cost $120 million a year.
Supervisor Valerie Brown said she'd like to preserve the pavement on 246 miles of road, including both of the additions cited by Public Works, "but you've got to have the money to do it."