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Amador's Rough Roads

Our scenic county roads are critical to our lives here in Amador County. We depend on them to get to work and shopping, and to schools, friends, and family. But our roads are also expensive, inconvenient, and very dangerous.

Most of our roads were built when the county had much less traffic. They’re narrow, curvy, and at best two car lanes wide. Some were built over historic horse and wagon trails. Our roads also cause conflicts between bicycles and cars. In most places, there are no shoulders or passing lanes.

And, I’m sure you’ve noticed the potholes, bumps, and pavement that looks like a jigsaw puzzle. Think about this:

  • Amador County roads were rated “at risk” in the 2015 Pavement Management Program Update Report (NCE1). Their condition was made even worse by last winter’s storms.
  • According to a recent report from AAA, drivers experience damage from potholes three times a year, at an average cost of $300 per repair. Problems can range from tire punctures or bent wheels to expensive suspension damage.
  • Poorly maintained roads cost California drivers $590 in vehicle maintenance annually (U.S. PRIG).
  • Rough roads create unsafe driving conditions that can lead to accidents. How many times have you swerved to avoid a pothole, barely risking a collision on our narrow roads? Poor roadways are a significant factor in about a third of traffic fatalities nationally (U.S. PRIG).

If these facts weren’t bad enough, roads in disrepair get worse the longer we wait to fix them. It costs as much as fourteen times more to reconstruct a pavement than it does to preserve it when it’s in good condition. (NCE2)

As I walk door-to-door throughout District 5, concerns about our roads are one of the primary things I hear you talk about. And if we ignore this problem, we’ll leave our children with an even bigger and more expensive problem to deal with in the future.

I’m interested in hearing your ideas about what to do about this crucial issue. Here are my initial thoughts:

  • State money from SB 1 has recently been made available to counties. Let’s find a skilled grant writer so we can compete successfully for our fair share of that money. We’re already paying gas taxes, so let’s make sure some of that money comes back here to make our roads safer.
  • Let’s find out what other rural counties are doing and discuss whether any of their solutions might work for us. There’s no need to reinvent the (bent) wheel.
  • We also need to be more efficient with our roadway expenditures and to collaborate better with the cities in our county, neighboring counties, and with the regional transportation agencies.

I want to hear your ideas for improving our roads. Please contact me! I believe that together we can find a solution.

 

Sources

U.S. PRIG – Road Work Ahead, 2010

NCE1 – County of Amador Pavement Management Program Update Report, 2015

NCE2 – California Statewide Local Streets and Roads Needs Assessment, Final Report 2016

 


Paid for by the Committee to Elect Andrea Macon Supervisor D5 2018
PO Box 1273, Pine Grove, CA 95665
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