• a road with construction cones

      Road improvement (Photo – sangabrielcity.com)

      San Gabriel’s streets have shown vast improvement within the past four years – with their Pavement Condition Index score rising from 52 in March 2018 to a remarkable score of 82 this year.

      By News Desk

      What is the Pavement Conditions Index?

      The Pavement Conditions Index (PCI) provides a snapshot of the pavement health of a road. This study is performed every three years by an independent agency, rating the city’s street conditions on a scale of 0 (a completely failed road) to 100 (a newly paved road).

      Comparison to nearby Cities

      • San Gabriel (2021): 82
      • Alhambra (2020): 77
      • Rosemead (2020): 76
      • Monterey Park (2019): 66
      • Temple City (2019): 58

      What changed? New method?

      Since 2018, the repaving process in San Gabriel generally consisted of complete demolition and replacement of the worst-condition streets, which costed more than $1 million per mile. This

      method proved to be very costly, and San Gabriel did not have the funds to properly address the issues.

      After evaluating repair alternates, San Gabriel switched to ARAM (Asphaltic Rubber Aggregate Membrane) and Slurry Seal processes, which do not require complete demolition of the existing roads. By 2020, the city was able to perform surface treatment to over 12 miles of medium-condition streets for only $1.5 million. Preserving medium-condition streets and not allowing them to become worst-condition streets is an important step towards improving San Gabriel’s entire street network. This method has proven to be very efficient, costing one-tenth of what it would have cost to replace a worst-condition street.

      In 2021, San Gabriel completed the largest street restoration project that ground down the edges of the streets and installed a new 4” rubberized asphalt street on top of the old street. Upon grinding down the edges, engineers discovered that nearly every residential street consisted of only about 2” thick of asphalt over dirt. This is insufficient for a public street and much thinner than an average driveway. Instead of fully replacing the street, the city went ahead with the 4” rubberized asphalt process, which is more cost-effective. By doing so, they also received a $250,000 grant to incorporate recycled rubber from car tires into the asphalt. The rubber adds flexibility and results in a smoother quieter riding surface. It is also designed to withstand years of traffic and weather forces, and adds an estimated 15 years of useful life.

      Using this street restoration method, San Gabriel now has proper high-quality streets that have greatly reduced maintenance costs, and a very long useful life.

      What’s next?

      This year, the city will launch another large-scale paving project to address many more poor-condition streets, including Hermosa Dr, Coolidge Dr, Gerona Ave, Alabama St, N California St, W Saxon Ave, and W Ramona Blvd, and almost all alleys. SB-1, also known as the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017, will provide an estimated $910,533 to improve these streets in this fiscal year 2022-23. There are also many other grants, totaling over $5 million, that will be used.

      Walnut Grove Ave & East Broadway, which is partly owned by the County of Los Angeles, is also on the radar. San Gabriel is actively working on the issue and hope that repaving will begin in 2023 in a joint project managed by the county.


      Source: City of San Gabriel. Edited by Ann Hunnewell

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