San Diego Steps Up Road Repairs With New Grinding Machine
Mt. Carmel High School Band members plan to march in a tournament down Paseo Montalban Street in Rancho Penesquitos at the end of the month, so new street repairs to prevent them from tripping can’t come soon enough.
The street had been rated in poor condition for years, but now it's being repaired by the city's new $650,000 milling and paving machine. The equipment can grind and repair stretches of road instead of patching potholes.
The band, along with San Diego City Councilman Mark Kersey and other city leaders on Thursday ushered in the new era of street repairs.
"In the 2015 budget, I advocated for additional general fund dollars to be dedicated to street repairs so that we can begin to tackle the decades old neglect of our city infrastructure, and it is that funding that has brought us here today," said Kersey, who is chairman of the council's infrastructure committee.
The machine can grind down up to two-and-a-half inches of asphalt as it moves forward at a pace of 80 feet per minute.
"It will help us to alleviate going back and patching those potholes on an annual basis," said John Helminski, deputy director of the city's Transportation and Stormwater Dept. "We can come in and mill and pave an area that’s a problem area, and then that area will be good anywhere from three to five years."
Helminski said contracting out a mile of street paving costs the city a half-million dollars.
"So it will more than pay for itself in a period of a year," Helminski said.
In addition to the new machine, the city hired a new crew.
"So we now have two crews dedicated to the milling and paving effort," Helminski said, "and that will allow us to at least double the amount of square footage that we do on an annual basis."
The last audit of San Diego's streets in 2011 found 25 percent in poor condition. The next street assessment is scheduled for spring of 2015.