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FPUD approves $57,000 to repave Elder Street private road area

If the Fallbrook Public Utility District installs or replaces pipeline segments the pavement is removed. After the work is completed, the road is paved with temporary cold mix asphalt. The roadway will eventually need a longer-term resurfacing to meet San Diego County standards and to ensure that the road’s integrity is not compromised.

The FPUD replacement of the water main pipeline along Elder Street created a question of how much of the private road segment between Shady Glen Drive and Debra Ann Drive should be replaced at FPUD expense. FPUD’s board voted 5-0 Wednesday, May 29, to authorize $57,000 for the paving of the Elder Street private road segment.

Although the 730 feet of Elder Street between Shady Glen Drive and Debra Ann Drive is a privately owned segment, the private section connects two public streets. Many non-residents use the private road, and motorists cannot access Emmanuel Baptist Church without using the private road.

Seven homes have direct access from the private road section of Elder Street, another 11 homes are on dead-end private roads accessed from that segment, and 10 Morro Road homes can be accessed from Alvarado Street or Fallbrook Street but are near the private section of Elder Street.

The private segment of Elder Street was paved around 1980, although who funded the original paving is currently a mystery since there is no road maintenance committee or homeowners’ association responsible for road maintenance. The private streets which connect to Elder Street have been maintained by the residents, but the Elder Street private roadway itself has not been repaved or maintained since 2007.

The roadway was in a deteriorated state with alligator cracking – interconnecting or interlaced cracking in the asphalt layer – throughout the length of the street prior to the FPUD pipeline construction work. Elder Street appeared to have been originally paved without an adequate base layer and three inches of asphalt.

The normal FPUD policy for pavement replacement of private roadway is to replace the pavement in-kind within the influence of the excavation as well as any other area damaged by the work. The new water main was placed in an existing public utility right of way, and 550 feet are under the existing private pavement. A 180-foot section of the pipe was placed in the public easement north of the paved street to avoid existing utility conflicts and did not require trenching in the private pavement.

During construction, some of the contractor’s equipment including an excavator and a dump truck was staged within the public easement in the dirt lot adjacent to the private road. An additional staging area for materials and equipment was used within the shoulder of the county-maintained street just east of the private section of the road.

For approximately six months, the contractor routinely used the private road within the FPUD easement to transport equipment and materials from the staging areas to other areas of the project. No reasonable alternative existed to avoid the private road during construction.

Several Elder Street residents requested that FPUD restore pavement beyond the planned trench repair area and expressed that wear and tear on the pavement occurred outside the influence of the trench area due to the contractor’s use of the road for access.

Numerous residents and the church’s pastor attended the FPUD board meeting, March 25, and requested that FPUD consider options for additional paving. The issue was discussed at the board meeting, April 22, and was continued to allow the community members time to explore options with the county.

County staff noted that funding could not be provided until the roadway was adopted into the county-maintained road system and that the necessary maintenance or restoration would require either the formation of a Permanent Road Division zone or a privately funded roadway improvement project which would bring the roadway to current county standards.

Three options were presented to the FPUD board at the May 29 meeting. One would have provided no additional paving beyond the planned repair to restore the road within the influence of the pipeline trench to like-new condition with a swath of new pavement approximately six feet wide.

The second option would provide full-width paving at the two intersections in addition to trench repair since the existing pavement is in the worst condition at each of the intersections and the influence of the pipeline work is larger due to trenching for tie-ins to the cross-streets; extending the paving to the full width of the intersection would require 1,500 square feet of additional paving with an estimated additional cost of $17,000. Full-width paving along the entire length of the private road would include 13,350 square feet of additional paving at an additional cost of $92,000.

The cost of additional paving funded by FPUD would utilize capital funds designated for pipeline repairs, so adding significant pavement expenses to the cost of pipeline installation would limit the ability of the pipeline replacement program to achieve the targeted replacement goals needed to maintain reliable water service. Approximately 70% of FPUD pipeline is within private roads, so replacing the entire pavement at FPUD expense for all pipeline replacements would likely increase annual costs between $800,000 and $1,000,000 per year.

Joe Naiman can be reached by email at [email protected].

Author Bio

Joe Naiman, Writer

Joe Naiman has been writing for the Village News since 2001


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