Ed Pilolla

Hermosa Beach playing catch up with street repairs [ROAD REPAIR CHART]

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After nearly a year of delay, the city is scheduled to begin street improvements in February 2013.

A total of 29 street segments will be rehabilitated, including pavement upgrades and other improvements related to drainage, tree removal and sidewalk damage due to tree roots, city officials said.

The streets slated for work were identified in the city’s Pavement Management Report last updated in 2007, according to a staff report.

The city’s annual street improvement budget is $650,000, and the money for the current round of street repairs was allocated nearly two years ago, said Public Works Director Frank Senteno.

A short-staffed public works department has been playing catch up with the repair work. The 29 street segments were scheduled to be repaired as part of the 2011-12 fiscal year.

At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Public Works Director Frank Senteno said street repairs for the current fiscal year of 2012-13 should be designed this year and completed by summer 2013 – putting street repairs back on schedule.

Senteno said the city had been selecting streets to repair using a philosophy of “Worst Streets First,” but is switching to a more cost-efficient method that would divide the city into 5-7 zones to allow for repair work to be completed on a scheduled basis every 5-7 years. Officials said this would allow for better maintenance of the roads.

Council member Howard Fishman said that doing road repair work in each zone of the city year-by-year could leave some needed street repairs until 2016 to be performed, raising liability concerns. Fishman, who lives on the eastside, also said that only a small percentage of streets slated for repair work in February are located east of Pacific Coast Highway.

Senteno explained that many of the streets east of PCH are made of concrete and are very expensive to rehabilitate. “They take up a good portion of that budget,” Senteno said.

“You need to put the priorities where they need to be which is to deal with those streets,” Fishman said.

Council member Mike DiVirgilio said the last time street repair was performed in the city a number of eastside streets were improved, and the next round of repairs to be completed next summer also include numerous eastside streets.

“We’re taking care of the whole city,” DiVirgilio said.

“Every council I’ve sat on, this has been our number one priority,” said Council member Peter Tucker. “People complain about our streets and the noise really that you get from people driving over them. People just as soon maybe move out because other cities seem to keep up better. I think we are making great strides.”

The city’s consultants, Bucknam and Associates, recently found Hermosa Beach’s streets to be in an overall condition of “fair,” similar to the condition of Manhattan Beach’s streets, according to the staff report. The report also said that 78 percent of Hermosa Beach’s street segments are either fair or very good, which is “a credit to the city’s continuing commitment to invest in its street infrastructure and that proper maintenance has been performed for some time.”

Among the repairs to be completed early next year is a portion of the Strand between 35th Street and Neptune Avenue where bicyclists recently reported having accidents.

The City Council also approved Psomas Engineering of Santa Ana to help with the current backlog of capital improvement projects in the public works department for a rate of $80-$160 an hour.

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