When utility companies or other contractors dig up the road, who’s responsible for repairing it once they’re done? They are, Sonoma County sources said. But reader Myra Goodman asked specifically about the intersection of Arnold Drive at Agua Caliente Road in Sonoma.

“They recently did some extensive work at that intersection which required digging a trench on Arnold Drive,” she wrote. ” The section of road at that intersection was paved no more than 9 months ago.  PG&E did a very poor job of covering their trench, leaving the road uneven and bumpy.  Unfortunately, this problem is widespread in the county. Is anyone responsible for checking to see that the people  digging up the road have properly repaved it?”

In general, contractors are responsible for leaving the pavement “in equal or better condition” than how they found it, but this case is different.

Tom O’Kane, deputy director of the Sonoma County Department of Transportation and Public Works identifies that intersection at the future home of a traffic round-about. PG&E is doing utility relocation work before the real construction begins.

“They have not completed their work, so the permanent restoration has not been done. We just put the round-about project out for bid – we are anticipating construction to begin this summer,” O’Kane said.

“I would disagree about the general condition of utility cuts throughout the County,” he added. “It is rare that a failure occurs on repairs to these cuts. In recent years, the companies have become conscientious in part because the permits staff at (the Permit & Resource Management Department) follow up on the work & any complaints about the condition.

“While projects are active, usually temporary patches are installed that are safe, but may not be as smooth as the finished product.  I will ask the project engineer for the round-about project to check w/the utility companies working in this area & remind them to provide smooth patches even when the work is still active.”


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  1. Steve Klausner

    The work was in preparation for the intersection being turned into a roundabout. If there is an intersection in Sonoma County where a roundabout is appropriate this is it. Currently there is little cross traffic with a 4 stop sign. The back up on Arnold can be 20 cars deep with no cars on Agua Caliente Road.

    March 19th, 2013 8:53 am

  2. Joe H.

    This is the most abused rule in the state of California. Thousands, if not billions of miles of roads are in disrepair and crumbling due to contractor’s skimping on road resurfacing. I’ve never seen a contractor come back and fix his poor patch job. Never.

    March 19th, 2013 11:27 am

  3. Denise Gilseth

    What Dept head or agency in CalTrans decided that all the redwood trees be cut down before a plan for restoration is in place?? Who does that? How can they be held accountable for such action??

    March 19th, 2013 6:47 pm

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