Sonoma County transportation officials announced that work will begin next week to repave 2.5 miles of Bennett Valley Road. The work is weather-dependent and officials did not have an exact start date.

The project will repave the road between Old Bennett Ridge Road and Warm Springs Road. It is part of the ongoing pavement preservation program approved and funded by the County Board of Supervisors. The process is called “full-depth reclamation” (FDR). It is a recycling method whereby the entire asphalt pavement and a defined amount of the underlying materials are ground-up and treated, to produce a stabilized base course. The stabilizing agent may be cement, lime, or an asphalt emulsion that is mixed with the pulverized material.

Generally, the depth of grinding and mixing extends about 12”, but due to the locations of underground utilities, the depth may vary in places. The “train” of equipment moves along covering about 1 mile each day. Once the prepared stabilized base has cured, an asphalt overlay will be applied. The finished product will essentially be a new road that should give 25 years or more of service before any additional significant pavement work will be needed, officials said.

Traffic will be disrupted, particularly during the grinding and mixing operation, officials said. The hours of operation will be between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m., and Bennett Valley Road will be closed to through traffic. Local access will be maintained, but there will be significant time delays. No bicycle or pedestrian access will be permitted during construction hours. The corridor will be open after working hours and on weekends.

Officials anticipated that the project will take about three weeks. When the road is open and the surface is not yet paved, motorists are advised to proceed slowly and to use caution. The surface could be slippery. Pedestrians and cyclists will not be restricted after hours or on weekends, but the unpaved surface will not be very accommodating, particularly to bicycles.

Once the construction begins, drivers can contact the contractor, Ghilotti Construction, at 585-1221 or the County of Sonoma Public Works Construction Office at 565-2231.

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