Driving down Turner Road through Lodi the street surface looks like you’re following the paths of raised shiny black streams and rivers of cracks.
In some places the cracks run together to form what looks like scales on an alligator’s back, and it feels like you’re driving over cobblestones.
Because of that Turner Road will be the city’s next big street infrastructure project City Council members were told at Tuesday’s early morning shirtsleeves meeting.
Public Works officials are hoping to lay down a new layer of asphalt over the existing roadway on one of Lodi’s major truck routes between Loma Drive and Pleasant Avenue starting in the winter of fiscal year 2014-15, said Charlie Swimley, Deputy director of Public Works. The fiscal year runs from July 1, 2014, through June 30, 2015. The project is expected to cost slightly more than $1 million, he said.
Designs for the roadway project on Turner Road are expected to be completed this fiscal year, which ends June 30. Once construction is underway the project is expected to take 90 days to complete, Swimley said.
Swimley explained that once the cracks in the road began to resemble alligator scales, sealing cracks — which creates the shiny black ribbons down the road — is no longer effective and the roadway is failing.
Trucks and vehicles like buses and fire engines along with water destroy the roads. That’s because overtime the combination of the asphalt aging and becoming more brittle along with the weight of the vehicles and water seeping into the cracks degrades the underlying subsurface of the road.
After the meeting Swimley said the project could extend the life of Turner Road by 10 to 15 years.
Lodi’s last project that included a new layer of asphalt was the recently completed work on Ham Lane between Lodi Avenue and Turner Road.
The work is all part of the city’s ongoing efforts to maintain the quality of the city’s streets. — which was detailed to council members Tuesday.
Staying on top of cracks and potholes and laying down a new layer of asphalt when necessary extends the life of the city’s streets and saves money in the long run, by keeping Public Works from having to completely reconstruct streets from the underlying subgrade up.
“There’s a lot of things that can go wrong, with some pretty major consequences if they’re not maintained properly,” Swimley told City Council members.
Swimley said priority is given to the city’s major thoroughfares and the streets that funnel traffic to them like Turner Road and Ham Lane rather than strictly residential streets. This is because residential streets do not see tractor-trailer, bus or other large vehicle traffic, which causes the significant damage to roads.
“Generally we design for trucks,” Swimley said. “Cars don’t kill pavement. Trucks, water and buses kill pavement.”
Councilman Larry Hansen said he was amazed by the amount of detail and planning Public Works officials use to try and stay on top of the never-ending task of keeping the city’s infrastructure in good repair.
“As council members we hear all the time, ‘I pay may taxes; I want this done or that done,’” Hansen said. “The reality is you’re stretching this money out I think as well as you can on a real methodical process to try and keep up with it.”
Contact reporter Todd Allen Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org.