Rocklin earmarks $44 million for roads

$7.6 million in projects added two years into the five-year capital improvement plan
By: Jon Brines, Placer Herald correspondent
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Rocklin’s roads

• 199.6 miles of road surface

• $44 million capital improvement plan

• $7.5 million pavement management plan

• 45 percent of budget reserves for street maintenance

• Funded from sales tax, grants, traffic impact fees and other city funds

Source: City of Rocklin


Rocklin is dedicating nearly $44 million to street replacement, which would add roundabouts, reconstruct failing roads and could help kids get to school. The money is expected to come through sales tax, grants, traffic impact fees and other city funds.

Mayor Diana Ruslin said the roads are the city’s life blood.

“Our road system represents our single most expensive infrastructure investment,” Ruslin said. “The maintenance and upkeep of our system is vital to our public safety, quality of life and economic prosperity.”

Rick Forstall, Rocklin’s director of Public Services, presented the proposed plan to the City Council at the April 30 budget hearing.

“Everything in here meets our existing budget funds,” Forstall said. “So we don’t go in the red on any of these projects.”

Next week, construction is expected to start on $4.7 million in roundabouts for Rocklin Road at Meyers Street and Grove Street.

The city will also put $1.8 million into creating a University Avenue that will run from Sunset Boulevard be-hind William Jessup University to link up with Whitney Ranch Parkway; $875,000 into fixing Sunset Boulevard between Stanford Ranch and Fairway Drive; and $1.5 million for bike and road improvements along Pacific Street to the Loomis border. The city plans to put $950,000 into resurfacing Ruhkala Road and nearby connections to improve drainage and increased vehicle capacity – in some cases it’s too narrow for cars to pass each other.

“These roads were built years ago and two cars can’t drive by each other in some parts of the road,” said nearby resident Paul Ruhkala. “I think it needed a little help. It’s not very smooth and it’s had a patch on top of patches for years.”

Some of the money will come from the Safe Routes to School grant program, including $550,000 into continuous paths for students for routes along Blue Oaks Boulevard, Grove Street, Meyers Street and Racetrack Road. It will bring an area north of Rocklin Elementary School up to standards set by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Former Mayor Peter Hill was pleased the city is continuing to improve routes to school through the program he helped champion in Rocklin.

“We always knew there would be a few gaps at the end of the big projects and I am happy that Rick Forstall and Rick Horst have figured out a way to fill them in,” Hill said. “It’s a project that I think was really beneficial to Rocklin, particularly in the older parts.”

The city is putting $3.1 million into resurfacing and drainage on Granite Drive and will try to finish the project before the new Target development is completed next spring. The city discovered the road was inadequate.

“The problem we have over there is trucks,” Forstall said. “The roadway the way it is right now cannot handle the load.”

The plan includes $75,000 for a citywide park and trail master plan.

“We’re really going out to the public to put together a full plan on all the community parks and neighborhood parks as far as where we want to go in the future,” Forstall said.

Many would like to see an interconnected trail system.

“We’ve been talking about that since I was on the Parks Commission, and that was a while ago,” Ruslin said. “So I am glad we are looking at that.”

The aging infrastructure of 199.6 miles of roads was identified as one of the city’s biggest weaknesses, according to a report to council in January. Now, on top of the capital improvements, the city is shoring up $1.5 million a year to put aside for extending the life of Rocklin’s road surfaces through a five-year pavement management plan.

Justin Nartker, Rocklin’s deputy director of Public Services, presented a map to council, soon to be available to the public, showing when each neighborhood would have work done.

“We’re just trying to stay on top of this and continue planning so we are better prepared so, when dollars become available, we can really attack our pavement issue and preserve more pavement,” Nartker said.

According to the map, Sunset Hill Drive above Sunset Whitney Golf Course will not be touched in the next five years. That concerns resident Rich Settles, who sees large cracks in the pavement.

“They did that slurry coat a few years ago, but you can see it is all cracking again,” Settles said. “Water will penetrate under the pavement, which will erode it, causing potholes eventually.”

South Whitney Boulevard is scheduled for work next fiscal year, which pleases resident Steve Benedict.

“It’s good they’re doing the street,” he said. “They need to fix the sidewalk.”

Sidewalk repair is not a part of the pavement management plan. Residents are encouraged to check out an updated city-wide map with projected work years by neighborhood, expected to be on the city’s website soon.

“It is contingent on funding,” Horst said. “I don’t want people to look at it and say they are going to do my road in 2014 because it’s yellow and then it doesn’t get done. It can float one year up or down. But at least it is on there.”

The city is using a portion of general fund surplus dollars as a reserve for future street maintenance; the council put aside $526,450 this year and next year is projected an extra $107,950, ac-cording to city documents.

The Capital Improvement Plan and the new fiscal budget are expected to go before the City Council for a vote later this month.