County road crews hustle to patch storm damage

  • Maintenance worker Norm Green with the Sonoma County Roads dept. shovels mud into a backhoe while clearing a drainage ditch and culvert on Bodega Ave. west of Sebastopol on Tuesday, December 11, 2012. (John Burgess/The Press Democrat)

Sonoma County's disintegrating rural roads, notoriously known for potholes and poor drainage, got a quick patch job before a storm hit Tuesday night.

County road crews hustled to fill potholes and fix road damage that had become much worse following heavy pounding from three back-to-back storms in late November and early December.

Crews on Tuesday improved drainage and slide issues in a few rural areas. On Monday they'd worked on potholes, following a huge concerted pothole effort on Saturday.

Two new automated pothole-filling trucks due by January in Sonoma County can't come soon enough, said county road boss Tom O'Kane.

O'Kane took advantage of last weekend's sunshine and asked for volunteers to work overtime Saturday for a day of pothole filling.

He had as many as 30 employees hustling throughout the county in 12 trucks. They patched several hundred holes and took care of much of the latest damage.

"We put out almost 100 tons of asphalt on Saturday. One hundred tons is a very good day," said O'Kane, who is Sonoma County's interim co-director of transportation and public works.

"We got quite a bit of work done but we've not caught up by any means," said O'Kane.

Sonoma County, while known for its lush wine country and coastal vistas, is also know for its bad roads.

With almost 1,400 miles of roads, it's the largest county road network in the Bay Area — and also about the worst.

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