Santa Rosa set to approve $4 million Fulton Road repaving project

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Santa Rosa is poised to spend $4 million on one of the costliest road projects in the city this year, repaving a little under a mile of roadway on the city’s western edge using concrete that’s expected to be easier to maintain.

The Santa Rosa City Council is set to approve a contract to repave Fulton Road this summer between Occidental Road just north of Highway 12 and West Third Street, a north-south stretch that mostly runs past single-family homes.

The repaving work will be done with roller-compacted concrete that’s more durable, cheaper and easier to maintain than asphalt.

It’s been used elsewhere to build dams and airport runways, but using it to repave a road is a new approach for Santa Rosa and the Bay Area, said Greg Dwyer, an associate civil engineer with the city.

“Everybody’s looking at us right now to see if it goes well,” Dwyer said.

City transportation and public works staff are recommending awarding the job to Ghilotti Bros. of San Rafael with a starting price tag of about $3.8 million and capping it at about $4.4 million, according to a staff report.

In October, council had rejected six bids for the Fulton Road project deemed too expensive.

When the city advertised the work last July, it sought proposals to pave the roadway either with asphalt or roller-compacted concrete, basing its estimates on 2017 asphalt costs and figures provided by the California Nevada Cement Association.

The city’s idea was to rebid the project in the winter when contractors might be hungrier for work and costs might be lower. That tactic had little effect, due to continually high material and labor costs since the October 2017 wildfires and a trucking shortage exacerbated by debris cleanup work after the Camp fire in Paradise in November, Dwyer said.

The low bid of $3.8 million from Ghilotti Bros. beat out a proposal for $3.9 million from Santa Rosa-based Ghilotti Construction Co., — a separate company by the same family name — and submissions from two other construction companies.

The savings from the rebid are not as much as the city had hoped, Dwyer said. He said the specialized concrete comes with some unexpected costs, such as the city having to fly in a superintendent from out-of-state to oversee the Fulton Road work, but it’s still expected to cost about $1 million less than the same version of the project using asphalt.

“We’re looking at ways to stretch our paving dollars, and the traditional hot-mix asphalt was very costly,” he said.

A city staff report calls for the project, which also includes building new pedestrian ramps to meet Americans with Disabilities Act specifications, to begin in May and finish several months later. Fulton Road will have at least one lane open in each direction for the duration of the project.

You can reach Staff Writer Will Schmitt at 707-521-5207 or will.schmitt@pressdemocrat.com.

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