Irwin Lane, dotted with pothole patches, runs 1.6 miles from Highway 12 north to Hall Road west of Santa Rosa. pressdemocrat.com photo

Last month, we asked readers to send us their vote for the worst road in Sonoma County.

The winner — perhaps we should call it the loser — is Irwin Lane, a 1.6-mile, bucolic, rural road west of Santa Rosa, running from Highway 12 north to Hall Road.

Next was Old Redwood Highway between Petaluma and Penngrove, Frei Road north of Sebastopol and Lichau Road east of Rohnert Park.

Our survey was just informal, so you may know of even worse roads out there. Next week, we’ll report what county officials say — and plan to do — about such bad roads.

If you want to read what people said about their most hated road(s), CLICK HERE.

Although the polls are closed, feel free to add your own vote or comments.

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  1. Hassanah

    I’m glad Irwin Lane made the list, because it keeps everyone from speeding too much as they use it as a thoroughfare. The posted 40 MPH speed limit is hardly obeyed.

    July 15th, 2010 9:04 am

  2. Jack C.

    Sixth street, Petaluma

    July 15th, 2010 9:14 am

  3. Ron

    You definitely need to add Keiser Road in Rohnert Park, between Snyder Lane and Petaluma Hill Road. Many more patches than Irwin Lane. They again patched (for the 1000th time) the potholes on the western part, and left the eastern side untouched. There are some holes 2 feet long and 5 inches deep. This needs work now before someone breaks an axle….

    July 15th, 2010 9:16 am

  4. Mark Davis

    Your readers missed Bennett Valley road from Grange road towards Sonoma

    July 15th, 2010 10:09 am

  5. Ken Dole

    Irwin Lane and Keiser Rd.are in poor shape, and they are seldom used rural lanes. Anyone who drives on Irwin Lane, a shortcut between Highway 12 and Fulton Rd. is a masochist. My choice of the most agregious shirking of duty is the City of Santa Rosa not doing a complete resurfacing of Cleveland Av as it passes Kmart and goes down to Piner Rd. More vehicles are abused on this road than the others mentioned combined.

    July 15th, 2010 10:25 am

  6. Windwalker

    Hey you have put Porter Creek Road and Calistoga Road to Petrified Forest Road near the top of that list! The List of Roads that will be fixed “PLEASE” Both of these roads have become Regular Commute Routes with no reasonable alternatives and they beat the heck out of the vehicles that must travel them daily in order to get to work. We saw in the PD Article how the one trucker pulled over on Porter Creek to allow motorists to pass and ended up 50 feet down the embankment! These two roads are rife with fissures, pothole, crumbling, unstable shoulders and rickity bumps and lumps. It is so frustrating driving on unsafe roads to get to work day after day not knowing if you your tires will blow at random or your car get jostled off the road by the lousy condition of the traveling surface. Please use some common sense, save lives and help us weary travelers get to work safely.

    July 15th, 2010 11:01 am

  7. Sean

    How about Todd Rd. from 116/Llano Rd. to Stony Point. Anybody remember driving down that road last winter?

    July 15th, 2010 11:13 am

  8. Karen

    It is easy to complain about roads, but it is important to remember that, for a settled urban region, Sonoma County geology has intrinsically a LOT of unstable surfaces with little bedrock – floodlands, redwood canyons, being a volcanic region (yes, why do you think we have geysers?) and et cetera. Most of the roads listed here are directly impacted by this. Temper your expectations with some understanding of the underlying geology. Drive accordingly.

    July 15th, 2010 3:07 pm

  9. Living On Irwin

    I live on Irwin and drive a heavy duty truck. Everything rattles in that truck now. They have never paved Irwin in the 14 years I have lived here but rather keeping filling in potholes with uneven asphalt. The southern section is worse but the north section at Occidental is a gut buster. There are sections that will grab your tires and send you into oncoming traffic as well. Thanks for this article. Maybe we will see some relief.

    July 15th, 2010 6:09 pm

  10. rob

    Ya’ll are nuts. The worse road by far…and highly traveled to boot, is that section of Green Hill or Green Valley (can never remember which) road…you know, the one that connects Graton Road to Occidental Road.

    July 15th, 2010 7:06 pm

  11. mrsmoose1478

    My vote is definitely for Green Valley Road.

    From Hwy 116 in Graton to Hwy 116 in Forestville…

    The entire loop is a mess! Also pretty dangerous in winter. I don’t have any great expectations…it’s not that well-traveled a road. But resurfacing some parts of it, as opposed to having the hole-filling crew come out and put crumbles in the holes, would be a better choice.

    Just one observer’s opinion…

    July 15th, 2010 7:45 pm

  12. rigger

    the pin heads [cal tran] put the tar and gravel in then it’s gone the next day.

    July 15th, 2010 9:25 pm

  13. momo

    keiser road is the worst of all.. but if you drive down the middle you can hit 120 without flippin your car… trust me

    July 16th, 2010 1:56 am

  14. Shar Carey-Cornett

    Hey, I lived on the north end of Irwin Lane for 21 years. I do have to give the County a hand for consistantly patching the pot holes on our end of the Lane. I agree, where the road comes to the stop sign at Occidental Road is absolutely unbearable to travel. I tried never to go South on Irwin in my Camaro.

    July 16th, 2010 8:43 am

  15. Scott Andrews

    O’Kane is just making excuses, and his lack of leadership and management skill shows in the shoddy work of his department. The folks he manages can’t even manage to put a decent patch on a pothole. Go drive out Spring Hill…their idea of fixing the road is to just add another shovel full of asphalt over the last patch, and let the cars roll it out..The result is a worse than a cobblestone road! Truly third world…

    If these folks claim they can’t do their jobs because they have no money, then maybe they should be working full time to FIND ways to fund the work. Otherwise we are paying them to sit around and whine about how they can’t do anything, and THAT’s a real waste of money.

    I say the supes should fire O’Kane, and hire someone actually committed to finding a way to maintain and repair the roads. They are a disgrace to the region.

    July 21st, 2010 12:20 pm

  16. Gretchen

    Pacific Avenue between Humboldt Street and McDonald is pretty bad.

    Having it all bumpy does keep people from speeding though :-) lol

    August 30th, 2010 8:03 am

  17. Don

    Surprising Roblar wasn’t mentioned. A cut over to Bodega… the coast. A local favorite. Combined w/ the big gravel trailer trucks from the quarry. It’s become a wild ride in recent year’s. The only worse Roads…. are Canfield & Petersen that feed into Roblar during the AM & aftn. school transport hour’s to that little school on Roblar. Herd’s of Minivans, latte sipping, running late Mommies doing 80 on 2 lane country roads are ten times scarier than the 18 wheeler’s. For safety, local’s avoid being on these Roads during traffic times or risk getting hit or run off the road.

    August 30th, 2010 9:15 am

  18. collinsfriend

    Apparently you haven’t been on Porter Creek Rd.

    August 30th, 2010 6:51 pm

  19. kepc

    I can’t pick a “winner.” There are so many atrocious roads in Sonoma County. Several years ago I visited Germany, home of perfect roads–and not just the Autobahn. Even the country lanes are perfectly constructed and paved. Sure, the Germans pay high taxes, but you get what you pay for. By comparison, our local roads have a third-world flavor. I agree with the other reader’s comments about chronic pothole filling. The cheap solution doesn’t last. Is the lame technique of pothole filling meant to provide life-long job security for the road crews? What about the security of the tax payers who drive on these roads?

    October 10th, 2010 9:33 am

  20. Linda

    Lichau Rd off Robert’s Rd is in very poor shape as well. It should be renamed Pothole Rd! Driving down the middle of the road works for a short time until you get to the hilly part. The road has not been repaved in the 10 years I’ve been driving on it.

    October 28th, 2010 4:56 pm

  21. Dee

    You need to drive Sonoma Mountain Road in Petaluma off of Old Adobe. There can’t be anything worse than this road, especially if you live at the top of the hill. It is disgusting. I remember this road when it was a pleasure to drive through the countryside.

    November 8th, 2010 8:58 am

  22. BadRoads

    As a resident of a rural road and short cut between to valleys, I cant wait till it goes back to the gravel washboard it was 25 years ago!
    Finally a solution to get those fancy sports cars, that cut blind corners and can stay in their lane, to slow down a little. Then we wont have to keep scraping their bodies of the pavement and trees. Hopefully the dust and risk of gravel chips will cut the traffic substantially.

    Best cost savings idea in years! Now where’s my jack hammer so I can help nature take its course?

    January 4th, 2011 4:28 pm

  23. Wild Ride

    Acacia Lane just north of Hwy 12. It must not be a “County Maintained Road” because it is barely paved and so bad that the fire department refuses to go down it. It is littered with large, deep potholes. Go down it and see what I mean. Hands down, the WORST!

    January 11th, 2011 10:39 am

  24. mother

    1 of the worst is Barnes Road between San Miguel and River Road. At night, you practically have to drive down the middle to avoid all the potholes. And when the nearby empty fields overflow with marsh water after heavy rains, people drive their cars down Barnes Road like drunken sailors, criss-crossing to miss potholes and driving down the wrong sides to miss the water. Got to love those chickens though.

    January 27th, 2011 2:39 pm

  25. rgrace

    You guys are all wimps :)~

    Rio Nido Road at River Road, and pretty much every road in Rio Nido, takes the cake. Rio Nido Road is nothing but potholes upon potholes and pothole patches of pothole patches. C’mon, people. You got it easy.

    March 23rd, 2011 6:42 pm

  26. New Chautauqua

    I would say if you were considering the money spent against the result the worst road in the county would have to be highway 101. When you consider we spent over $60,000,000 on it we have change coming. it is by far the sloppiest job ever. It’s bumpy, not level, noisy and they didn’t improve the exit/entrance ramps. There is a routine 1/4 mile backup onto the freeway at some exits.

    The worst road in the county is 101. We got screwed.

    March 23rd, 2011 6:55 pm

  27. Jac

    I agree with Wild Ride, Acacia Lane is the worst. I don’t believe it has been paved since I moved away in 1969. And, right, Acacia Lane has never been incorporated into the city.

    April 1st, 2011 12:32 pm

  28. Ron Hodges

    Check out Mark West road west of Starr Road. It has world class pot Holes. Also Chalk Hill Road has had a steel traffic plate across the road for the last 6 months with no indication that it will ever be replaced.

    June 28th, 2011 10:54 am

  29. jalama

    I used to live in Hawaii and knew a guy that had an asphalt paving company. He got in the habit of fixing any potholes on the way home if he had any leftovers from a job. They arrested him and threw him in jail for a week and fined him $1500 for doing unauthorized “county” work.

    July 7th, 2011 7:30 pm

  30. Angie

    I take issue with this remark: Several years ago I visited Germany, home of perfect roads–and not just the Autobahn. Even the country lanes are perfectly constructed and paved. Sure, the Germans pay high taxes, but you get what you pay for. “~ kepc

    We pay high taxes in Sonoma County and in the state of Calif. Too! But, the point is: It’s not being spent on resurfacing roads from what we see—and drive on!

    August 13th, 2011 8:53 am

  31. Bill K

    I have to vote again for Irwin… it is so bad it deserves back to back wins.

    Other than that, it isn’t travelled on much, but the persons that live there would certainley agree, Duer Road is terrible… I think overall, I would say it is worse than Irwin… at least on Irwin, I can almost do the speed limit, it is hard on the car, but not as rough as Duer at 15 or 20mph.

    I drive to Sonoma daily from Santa Rosa in the various different ways… like one person mentions, HWY 12 to Sonoma… while there are parts that could use touch up, this is actually pretty nice roadway, Adobe Road, has some bad parts, but nowhere near as bad as some, Bennett Valley/Warm Springs road could use attention in that middle part they didn’t do anything except a quick patch pave on.

    I vote that Irwin be taken back to a full gravel road experiment like they tried on Sonoma Mountain Road, however, they should use the binding enzyme as directed (mixed with the product, not sprayed on top of).

    I drive some of the roads that ppl comment on, and well, they’re not that bad… while, others listed are bad to terrible.

    September 26th, 2011 12:24 pm

  32. robert

    keiser is maybe “ok” if you are able to drive the middle, but some of those holes on the sides make you clench your checks a bit before you hit them. also sonoma mountain road off of old adbobe is deserving of mention

    October 8th, 2011 7:50 am

  33. Lena

    Yea, Scott Andrews for your comment, it is well said. Our Roads in Sonoma County have always been awful. I took note on the conditions of our poorly kept roads as a youth, and I am 55 now, and I have not seen much, if, any change in the upkeep of our roads. I always said, if there is a problem with employees not doing a job well done, look to its administration, it’s usually, a reflection of the same. There is no excuse good enough for me, concerning the road conditions in our beautiful Sonoma County.

    February 26th, 2012 12:54 pm

  34. Lancelot

    Yep Id have to agree with this, I lived there, it was dreadful and of all the roads I ever knew was the most shameful of any county.

    March 15th, 2012 7:12 am

  35. Dan

    I agree with Scott Andrews.
    I think it is not just money but also a culture in the road department of “We can’t do it” or “Sonoma County drivers expect bad roads and we give exactly what they expect”
    In the jobs that have been carried out there is a lack of quality. Between R.P. Expressway and 116 there were some sectional repairs done where the pavement was cut out and a new layer of pavement was laid down. Even though they used a roller, they just couldn’t match up the new surface with the existing surface. Now every time I drive over the new section, my pickup jolts up about three inches.
    Three salamander crossing pipes were installed under Stony Point just east of Mecham road last year. The pipes were installed without cutting the pavement. Installing pipes without disturbing the pavement sounds like a good idea. Unfortunately, a ripple developed over two of the three pipes so every time you drove over them, your tires went airborne. A sectional “repair” was done over the pipes. The job was botched Just like the other sectional repairs. Now my wheels go airborne even higher. I know these sectional repairs can be done correctly. I recently drove over some in Marin County and they were seen but not felt.

    What the Supervisors should do is eliminate the management of the Sonoma road department and contract with Marin County.

    May 8th, 2012 4:37 pm

  36. connie george

    In Healdsburg its Center Street. At the end to Powell St…

    April 5th, 2013 1:00 am

  37. dave

    I’m so surprised and happy to see the paving work done on Stony Point and Petaluma Hill. Instead of the crap chip-seal and partial shoulder coverage they usually do to save money, this time they did it right. SMOOTH asphalt shoulder edge to shoulder edge. A big thanks to whomever made this happen. Bike friendly, smooth, and quiet.

    October 16th, 2013 1:51 pm

  38. Joe

    Irwin will never get done. It has been the worst road 2 of the last 3 years. If they would chip-seal it would be a GREAT improvement on what is there already. People would take that road to stay off 101 an help out with the congestion.

    October 22nd, 2013 3:26 pm

  39. Bill

    I think it’s time to get the bikers involved in this issue because they seem to get everything they want. Lets get the bikers to complain about Willowside Road. Every time I travel this road the bikers are weaving all over the place to avoid the rough edges, add that to the cars avoiding the pot holes, and you have a narrow 2 lane mess on your hands. This raod is traveled extensively by the bikers, as it gains access to Santa Rosa Creek Trail.

    November 1st, 2013 6:57 am

  40. G

    By far the worst roads are every road that leads to the new Casino in RP!

    There goes nice country drives on Stony Point and Petaluma Hill Road.

    Here comes more traffic and pollution!

    November 5th, 2013 2:11 pm

  41. bradpipal

    Lower ball joints on 90,000 mile 1993 Ford Ranger XLT..The roads have almost bent my spindles on my small truck..The tires will not be long mileage if your front end has hit Irwin Ln., Green Valley Rd that is only part-time due to flooding., Keiser Rd. and Acacia are very dangerous to front ends…
    When will the County accept vehicle damage from Todd Rd. man hole covers set improperly?

    March 5th, 2014 10:46 pm

  42. bradpipal

    East of the closed restaurant on Porter Creek Rd.about one eighth to fourth of a mile….

    Terrible mishaps occur sometimes twice weekly..

    Ca. road way with possibly an underground spring.

    And right lane, east bound is a road hazard.
    Road is deformed with app. three foot un drivable lane, , sloping into lower destroyed fence, sinking roadway,
    Four to eight inches plus drop of asphalt…
    A state owned defect of engineering has caused over forty trucks and cars to enter a fence…

    March 5th, 2014 10:56 pm

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