Crews begin $29 million project to repair nearly 50 miles of Sonoma County roads

This summer, construction crews will target 50 miles of Sonoma County-owned roads, paving, sealing cracks and removing vegetation as part of a $29 million program.|

The benefit of better roads might outweigh the headaches from traffic delays and detours expected this summer when crews work to repair portions of 98 troublesome Sonoma County-maintained roads.

Local officials have spent at least the past decade — and millions of dollars — to improve the county’s notoriously ailing road infrastructure. But conditions of the county’s massive 1,368-mile network have only marginally improved, according to annual scores from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the Bay Area’s transportation agency.

The county’s average pavement condition index score — a rating from 0-100 with 100 being the best road condition ― was 51 in 2021. A year earlier, it was 50, just cracking the “at risk” category.

“If you kick the can down the road on paving it falls into a pothole,” Sonoma County Supervisor James Gore said in 2022.

Since 2012, when the county scored a pavement road index of 44, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors invested more than $203 million to improve about 516 miles ― or 38% ― of county-maintained roads, Sonoma County communications specialist Dan Virkstis said.

In 2022, the county completed paving for 23.71 miles, according to a county map of completed paving projects.

This summer, construction crews will target 50 miles of county-owned roads, paving, sealing cracks and removing vegetation as part of a $29 million program funded through two Sonoma County initiatives to improve the county’s road network, one of the largest in the Bay Area.

As crews work to resurface roads around the county, drivers should plan ahead, check road closures and identify potential detours.

Some of the roads selected for improvements this summer, as indicated by a county-made online map , include:

  • Multiple roads in Larkfield-Wikiup, just north of Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital, including Carriage Lane, Wikiup Drive, Vista Grande Drive and Faught Road
  • Neely Road near Guerneville
  • Adobe Canyon Road near Kenwood
  • Ida Clayton Road near Kellogg
  • Bay Hill Road near Bodega Bay

Crews are conducting nightly paving this week at Old Redwood Highway and Mark West Springs Road, along with Bodega Highway, Virkstis said.

Vegetation was being removed Wednesday along River Road and more such work was planned for Thursday in the area of Old Redwood Highway near Windsor.

The online map also indicates some of the roads that were repaired in 2022, along with those the Sonoma County Department of Public Infrastructure plans to resurface in 2024 and 2025.

These roadways were selected based on criteria that takes into account pavement condition, traffic volume, road width, type of material ― asphalt, concrete or gravel ― and where they are located in the county, as the department attempts to complete projects equitably across the region, officials said.

Roads qualified for repairs under two programs: the Pavement Preservation Program, part of the county’s 2022-23 budget; and the Fire Damage Recovery Paving Project, which is supported by funds from a settlement with Pacific Gas & Electric Co. over the 2017 firestorm, Virkstis said.

The two initiatives contributed about $20 million for county road work completed in 2022.

County supervisors approved the Sonoma County Long-Term Road Plan in 2014 to outline criteria for selected roads for paving and a funding strategy to boost repaving efforts.

According to the county plan, to improve roads so they score in the “good” to “very good” condition, the county must invest $954 million over the next 20 years, or $47.7 million per year.

Without a minimal annual investment of $20 million per year, the plan says, the entire network will continue to decline, creating long-term economic costs.

You can reach Staff Writer Madison Smalstig at On Twitter @madi.smals.

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