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Caltrans has started a night paving project on Highway 12 in Santa Rosa that will last through about the end of the month.

The work is being done from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. Monday through Friday from Farmers Lane to Mission Boulevard.

Crews are grinding down the pavement this week and next week they’ll do the paving using a special technique — “bonding wearing course” — designed to extend the life of the existing pavement by including a layer of a polymer-modified emulsion in the new pavement.

A couple of Road Warrior readers have written in asking why Caltrans is repaving a road that one, Steve, described as “other than a few minor potholes, that pavement is in near perfect condition.”

Caltrans spokesman Adam Priest said the estimated $500,000 to $750,000 project will “repair specific areas of severe distress.” He said the new pavement will be less slick during rainstorms and, thus, safer.

Santa Rosa’s traffic engineer, Robert Sprinkle, said the Caltrans work caught the city by surprise. And city officials seem a bit miffed by the work.

Sprinkle said Caltrans had said last summer that it “eventually” planned to repave that stretch of Highway 12 but never was specific on when.

He said he was trying to get a hold of Caltrans this week to get details on its project, including when it plans to fix or replace traffic light sensors that the city had imbedded in the road at Fourth Street and Farmers Lane. Apparently during the grinding work the sensors were damaged or destroyed, and now the traffic light system at the intersection operates as if there cars waiting to cross in each direction, thus giving green lights to lanes where there are no cars.

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