Burbank will start a $5.4 million street resurfacing project — the largest and most expensive task of its type in at least a decade — sometime in October.
The project, the concluding phase of a 10-year cycle of resurfacing, will cover about 150 city blocks in two zones that include parts of the neighborhoods surrounding the Hollywood Burbank Airport. The zones stretch from the south side of Victory Boulevard to the Burbank city limit at Cohasset Street, and border Los Angeles to the west and Buena Vista Street to the east, according to city civil engineer Omar Moheize, the project manager.
This phase of the project, funded by a mixture of grants and state and local taxes, is expected to reach completion by March 2021, Moheize said, with nothing taken from the city’s general fund. Residents can expect to see streets with serious cracks and potholes refurbished. The roads will also be inspected and improved to meet Americans With Disabilities Act requirements.
“Just bear with us,” Moheize said in a phone interview. “Sorry for the disruption; it will be as minimal as possible.”
Moheize added in an email that the city has spent between $20 million and $22 million on residential street paving alone over this decade-long project, including the upcoming phase. Most rehabilitative work has been on residential streets, a necessity the project manager said is due to a “triage” approach to the situation.
The city engineer also explained that city staff members take “painstaking measures” to make sure contractors don’t work on consecutive streets to avoid keeping “no parking” signs, which will be placed five days prior to closing the street, up for too long. Placing the rubberized asphalt — a material made from discarded tires — itself on a street takes about a day.
The city will have diverted roughly 750,000 tires over the course of the decade-long resurfacing project, Moheize estimated. He added that the material is hardier and quieter to drive on.
However, he also asks residents to avoid driving on the new asphalt while it is still hot, explaining that doing so could hurt their tires as well as the surface. .
The project’s growth is due in large part to a new funding source. When the resurfacing project started, Moheize said, funding was limited — about $800,000 for that year — though it increased gradually, averaging between $1.4 million and $2 million annually.
But after Burbank voters approved Measure P, a three-quarter-cent sales tax increase, in 2018, the city found itself with much more money to spend on infrastructure. Last year’s street resurfacing phase cost about $4.6 million, though the upcoming phase eclipses that number by several hundred thousand dollars.
Because of the extra funds, the Public Works Department will be able to cut its second resurfacing cycle, starting in 2021, in half, taking five years to refurbish city streets in poor condition rather than 10 years.
“When I was doing the 10-year cycle, knowing that I have limited funding … it was so difficult to tell the person who calls you and says, ‘When are you going to pave my street?’ and he’s on cycle nine or 10,” Moheize said. “I’m going to tell him to wait nine or 10 years. Now, it’s more palatable. If I am in the year 2021 or 2022, and they call me … it’s only around the corner.”
The increased funding, as well as the fact that some streets will not have to be resurfaced in the next project cycle, also gives the city the option of doing some intervening work on pavement that isn’t yet in poor condition. If that approach is taken, the city could avoid having to do major repairs later.
“Before, we didn’t have that luxury,” Moheize said.