City to Repair South Bay, Preston Lane

Written by Neil Farrell

Neil has been a journalist covering the Estero Bay Area for over 27 years. He’s won numerous journalism awards in several different categories over his career.

June 5, 2023

The shoulder on South Bay Boulevard in Morro Bay raised concerns that the asphalt surface would crack off and fall away. Photo submitted

The City of Morro Bay is extending a roads repair contract to include fixes to a slip out on South Bay Boulevard and destruction of a portion of Preston Lane during this past winter’s major storms.

Public Works asked the City Council to approve an additional $300,000 on an emergency basis to Papich Const., of Arroyo Grande’s existing contract for the City’s normal street repair job. It was the second amendment in the contract.

Last October Papich had been awarded a $1.27 million tackle a long list of road repairs that involved digging out, repairing and repaving in some cases, long swaths of roadways all over town. But the winter’s rains — especially storms in January and March — caused a lot of extra damage to the roads including South Bay Boulevard. 

The City already amended the contract once for $63,700 back in March for repairs on South Bay. With this second amendment Papich’s contract has risen to some $1.63 million.

Since then, the late storms of March caused a slip out under the shoulder/bike lane on South Bay Boulevard on the Los Osos side of Chorro Creek. 

According to a report, “the City experienced storms of epic proportions that brought intense rain and flooding to the Morro Creek and Chorro Creek basins. Flooding resulted in closures of South Bay Boulevard resulting from both storm events. The March 10, 2023, flooding event left several areas of the west shoulder of South Bay scoured with heavy erosion and extensive damage.

“The bike lane is currently closed off in areas with delineators because of the washed-out areas.”

A portion of Preston Lane will be repaired following damage caused by winter storms. Photo submitted

The City worries that if the shoulder isn’t repaired soon, the overhanging asphalt surface will crack off and fall away, “which will impact the safety of this critical corridor between Morro Bay and Los Osos. Since work on South Bay is already planned and has yet to be completed with the Pavement Management Project, the City proposes to use Papich on an emergency basis to complete this additional repair and restoration work.

That work will include tearing out the undermined area and putting in new sub-base, geosynthetics, base and asphalt, and re-establishment of roadway striping. The work on South Bay has been estimated to not exceed $200,000.”

City Engineer, Eric Riddiough, said work on South Bay Boulevard will begin sometime in June, so expect traffic controls and possibly a complete temporary closure.

“Due to the extent of the repairs,” Riddiough told Estero Bay News, “the City will be looking at the possibility of a night full closure of the roadway to minimize traffic delays that may be experienced during the day, but we will need to work with the County on that.”

The other added repairs are for Preston Lane, which was damaged in January when Morro Creek washed over its banks and flooded the area of the 1600-1700 blocks of Main Street, causing damage to businesses and homes in the area. It also left Preston Lane a real muddy, potholed mess. The problem is in part due to the roadway not being built properly in the first place.

“Preston Lane,” reads the report, “was inundated with water and mud for several days after both flooding events. The road was in poor condition prior to the storms, but flooding and cleanup efforts that followed caused irreparable damage to the asphalt pavement.” The City hopes the federal government will eventually help pay for a full rebuild.

“The City is seeking FEMA funding for long-term repairs to the roadway, but it is unknown at this time how much of the repairs FEMA funding would cover since the road was in poor condition.” 

City staff met March 30 with area residents and business owners to discuss the issue and try and find a solution. After the meeting the City decided to do a temporary fix.

“Staff communicated to the residents and businesses on Preston Lane that there will be a short-term solution on Preston Road to pulverize existing asphalt road pieces that remain, import recycled asphalt grindings and place 4-6 inches of grindings on a newly graded subgrade surface, and grade to drain. The grindings will be topped with an oil surface coat to hold grindings in the interim while funds are obtained for a more complete road repair. The not-to-exceed cost for this work is $100,000 including all materials, labor, equipment, and incidentals.”

A long-term fix on Preston Lane might depend on the State.

“A long-term solution to fully reconstruct Preston Lane is dependent on future capital funding and necessary storm water system upgrades.” 

The staff submitted a “Notice of Interest” for a “long-term project to CalOES [State Office of Emergency Services] for hazard mitigation funds to redesign and upsize the storm drains in this area to capture more surface water runoff, which could help mitigate against future flooding, and this work would require the reconstruction of Preston Lane.”

That area along Main Street from Radcliff Street to Atascadero Road was inundated with rain runoff in the Jan. 8-9 storm and is roughly the same area that flooded in a huge storm in March 1995.

As for the Pavement Management Project for FY 2021/22, which Papich has been working on for months, Riddiough said Papich completed most of that work in January-February in between storms. The South Bay repairs haven’t been completed yet, which allows for the amended contract and added work.

The budget shows Papich’s original contract of $1.27M; plus Amendment 1 for $63,700; and Amendment 2 for $300,000 ($200,000 for South Bay and $100,000 for Preston Lane); for a total contract amount of $1.63M. Add into that $74,000 for construction management, inspections and testing, and the overall budget rises to $1.71M.

Money for these repairs comes mainly out of the Measure Q sales taxes (a 0.5% voter-approved local sales tax) and State and Federal roads monies, which are amassed through gasoline and diesel fuel taxes paid at the pump.

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