Your Benicia Roads

The City of Benicia operates and maintains 195 lane miles of roads that connect commuters safely in, out and around our town. More than what commuters see while traveling through the city, road maintenance requires substantial planning, expertise and staff support for which the City’s Public Works Department is responsible.

Benicia Roads Today

The Public Works Department regularly examines the City’s roads to determine their condition and the type of maintenance needed. The most recent examination shows that more than half of the City’s streets are in conditions below the ideal “Good to Excellent” category. Overall, Benicia roads are considered “At Risk to Fair” which is a score of 55 on the scale the City uses to grade its roads. The ideal score for all roads is 70-100, or “Good to Excellent.”


Keeping Benicia on the Move

The planning, expertise and staff support necessary to maintain the quality of our roads requires significant funding. While the annual cost to raise the quality of our roads to an acceptable level is approximately $6.4 million, over the last five years, the City has only received an average of $1 million annually for road maintenance (the City receives funding for roads from the State of California funding (Gas Tax) and vehicle impact fees), meaning the City is facing a deficit of $5.4 million for road repairs, services and maintenance.


Due to a lack of sufficient funding, the number of “Good to Excellent” roads are decreasing while the “At Risk to Fair,” “Poor” and “Failed to Very Poor” roads are increasing. Once a road starts to deteriorate into the “At Risk to Fair” category, the costs for repairs spikes significantly. Due to budget restraints, there is careful planning on which streets receive which road treatments to evenly distribute maintenance and keep Benicia moving.


Road Maintenance Strategy

The City of Benicia’s Public Works Department manages the comprehensive Pavement Management Technical Assistance Program (P-Tap) that is set in place to manage the safety and efficiency of our roads. The City’s Pavement Management Program (PMP) assigns each street a Pavement Condition Index (PCI) based on factors specified by Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC). Staff rely on PCI scores, geographical distribution of potential projects, potential impacts to residents, and integration with other roadway projects when selecting street segments to be included in the biennial PMP. 

Road Scoring and Treatments

The most recent inspection information and treatments report the City’s overall pavement condition index (PCI) is 55, which is classified as “At Risk to Fair” for MTC standards. Approximately 46% of the City’s streets had a grade less than 50, which is considered Poor to Failed. Nichols Consulting Engineers (NCE) used StreetSaver’s budget scenario module to develop a sensitivity analysis. The analysis evaluated the impacts of various budget scenarios on PCI, delayed maintenance, and the average remaining service life of the roadway network. Based on the analysis, NCE recommended that the City’s strategy should include slurry seals and micro-surfacing to maintain “Good” and “Very Good” streets as a cost-effective maintenance activity.
Before 2018, the City PMP prioritized street reconstruction and conducting minimal maintenance on “Good” and “Very Good” streets. These projects drastically improved the scores of specific street segments but had minimal effect on the City’s overall pavement condition. Based on NCE's recommendations, the City’s current plan includes a mix of maintaining “Good” and “Very Good” streets and reconstructing “Very Poor” streets, with a goal of raising the PCI from 55 to 70 over twelve years.
A mixed maintenance/replacement strategy is fiscally prudent because it is far more cost effective to keep good streets in good condition than letting streets deteriorate to the point where they require reconstruction. Reconstruction is 10 to 40 times more expensive than a slurry seal or micro-surfacing application (street maintenance). In order to implement this plan it is estimated that the City will need to construct approximately $6.4 million annually in pavement rehabilitation improvements over twelve years.

Definitions of Road Treatments

  • Crack Seal: Proactive activity to delay further damage to the driving surface. Streets form cracks in the driving surface with age that allow moisture to enter the subsurface which accelerate deterioration. Cracks with one-eighth-inch separation are filled with a bitumastic sealant.
  • Micro-surfacing: The application of water, asphalt emulsion, aggregate (small crushed rock), and chemical additives to existing asphalt pavement surface. Micro-surfacing is applied in order to help preserve and protect the underlying pavement structure and provide a new driving surface.
  • Dig out and Replace: The replacement of the driving surface and subgrade to an area of the street with severely compromised asphalt and subgrade. These areas must be dug out and replaced before improvements to the driving surface are made.
  • Pavement Reconstruction: The entire pavement structural section, asphalt and sub-base, is removed and replaced.
  • Pavement Rehabilitation: The old surface is milled or ground off, minor structural deficiencies are repaired, and a new surface is applied.

Methodology on Selecting Roads for M&R Projects

When selecting street segments for these projects, staff selects street segments that minimize disruption to residents, avoid conflicts with other upcoming City roadway and utility projects, and are located near other project locations to minimize mobilization and travel time for contractors. In future projects, staff will select streets in other parts of the City to ensure equity. While planning for these projects, road maintenance also includes road striping, sidewalk repair, installing accessibility ramps, stormwater drains, bike lanes and more. As is typical of paving projects, construction will cause delays to traffic in the work areas; however, staff ensures the impacts are minimized and that public safety is held as the highest priority.

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Additional Resources

To learn more call 707-746-4240 or, click on the documents listed below.