By Craig S. Harrison, President, Save Our Sonoma Roads
The roads in Bennett Valley have been improving since 2011 when we founded Save Our Sonoma Roads. A section of Sonoma Mountain Road between Sonoma Ridge Lane and Mountain Meadow Lane, about 1.2 miles in length, will be upgraded this summer. The $700,000 project is paid for by settlement funds from PG&E for the 2017 Nuns Fire.
We recently met with Johannes Hoevertsz, Director of Public Infrastructure (formerly Department of Transportation and Public Works), and Janice Thompson, deputy director for engineering and maintenance. Janice oversees road design and maintenance. We learned that the treatment for the Sonoma Mointain Road repair will be full depth reclamation, an excellent method to restore this highly distressed road.
Full depth reclamation involves pulverizing the existing pavement and road base, mixing in cement on site, compacting the road base, and paving a new asphalt surface. This process minimizes road closure time and reuses the old road material, thereby limiting the use of new material and hauling old material to the landfill.
In 2014 a county consultant concluded that Sonoma Mountain Road between Pressley Road and Warm Springs Road had “no remaining useful life.” After the 2024 project is completed, all of Sonoma Mountain Road between Bennett Valley Road and Mountain Meadow Lane (4.4 miles) will have been improved. The 3.3 mile stretch between Mountain Meadow Lane and Warm Springs Road will still desperately need work. It has failed, depressed, and sunken roadways, frequent extensive large and dangerous potholes, and badly cracked roadsides. These conditions create hazards for vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Sonoma Mountain Road was twice voted “the worst road in Sonoma County” in Press Democrat contests.
We encourage Bennett Valley residents to support the continuing improvement of our roads by working with the BVCA and thanking Supervisor Susan Gorin for her support.