Turlock’s Roads “At Risk,” Second Worst in County

David Fransen|

A new report on the state of Turlock's roadways paints a grim, cracked picture, with the city claiming quantifiably poor streets that are only set to get worse.

The report was drafted by Margot Yapp, P.E., Vice President of Nichols Consulting Engineers, a firm which specializes in pavement engineering.

“If you drive around Turlock, I'm sure you're going to recognize some of these,” Yapp said, pointing to photos of cracked, tattered roads.

The report comes as the Stanislaus County Council of Governments, the regional transportation planning organization, hired Nichols Consulting Engineers to review the state of all federally-funded roadways in the county. The City of Turlock agreed to spend an extra $28,000 from its own coffers to have Nichols Consulting Engineers study all 251 miles of Turlock streets, valued at $357 million.

That study didn't turn up good news, though. Almost a quarter of Turlock's roads are considered to be in “poor” or “failed” condition – below a 50 on the 100 point Pavement Condition Index scale.

“There are some significant red flags here that have some consequences for the future,” Yapp said.

Making matters worse, Turlock has the second worst streets in Stanislaus County, claiming an average score of 67 on the PCI. Only Modesto has worse streets, at a 63.

There's a reason why Turlock's streets are considered “at risk.” If Turlock doesn't start spending more on road repair soon, the costs to repair and maintain its streets will skyrocket.

“It's kind of the edge of a very steep cliff,” Yapp said. “That's where Turlock is today.”

Resurfacing a road in good condition costs just $4.50 per square-yard. Repairing a road in fair condition costs between $11.50 and $20.50 per square-yard. And repairing a road which has failed entirely can cost as much as $62.50 per square yard.

Because of that, Yapp said that it makes more fiscal sense to prioritize the maintenance of roads that are in good shape. Otherwise, the costs of maintaining those roads quickly escalates.

However, Turlock isn't spending enough to even maintain the good roads. If the City of Turlock continued at its current roadwork spending level – about $1.25 million per year – the city's PCI would drop to 33 in 20 years. That would leave Turlock with $377 million in backlogged work.

“It's essentially saying we need to replace every road in town in 20 years,” Yapp said.

If Turlock moved forward with a half-cent sales tax dedicated to roads, frequently discussed by local leaders, the bleeding could be stemmed.

Such a sales tax would raise about $5 million per year – enough to keep Turlock's PCI roughly flat for the next 20 years, but not make any improvements. And Turlock would still face about $156 million in deferred repairs, despite the increased spending.

To improve Turlock's streets to a PCI of 80 – the good range – the city would need to invest $11.4 million per year for the next 20 years. That's roughly equivalent to the proceeds of a one-cent sales tax, double what has been previously discussed.

“This is definitely, I think, very difficult to achieve,” Yapp said.

Regardless of the obstacles, the time to act is now, Yapp said. Otherwise, Turlock could face a road repair bill that it has no chance of paying.

“This is the time we could do something before it drops off that steep cliff,” Yapp said.

Comments 11

  1. t says:

    I could have told you the roads in Turlock “suck” for free, here you go, they suck. Could have saved you 28k. Didn’t the city already pay thousands a few years back for the same type of study??

  2. Lori says:

    I think we need to get rid of some of the workers, that are standing around while 1 or 2 works. Everytime you see a group of city workers no one is doing anything. This is our taxpayer money 1or 2 doing all the work and the rest standing around. Not on breaks either you come back by a little later the same is going on. No new taxes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Richard says:

    Here’s a thought. Instead of spending all that money on building and maintaining those idiotic speed bumps and turnabouts along with all of those useless center lane dividers on Geer, Monte Vista and Golden State Blvd. maybe that money should have been kept to repair and maintain EXISTING roads??????

  4. Holly Borges says:

    I would vote for this if we were guaranteed that the one cent increase would only be funded for road improvements and not be used for anything else! No mediums and beautification of plants! Restricted funding to road use only would be a must. The roads on East Ave, Golf road and Linwood are in dire need of repair and also would like to see improvements made to the intersection of Golden State and Berkley roads!

  5. Easy Fix says:

    The north end of town gets their roads repaved at regular intervals because they belong to the Community Facilities District. It costs them an additional $600 per year. This fee is tacked onto their property tax. I will actively oppose any sales tax increase until ALL home owners pay equally. Once the rest of the city is in CFD II there will be plenty of money to fix the roads.

  6. t says:

    What is the delay in repairing Monte Vista ? We have had plenty of rain free days Mr.Pitcock.

  7. Geoff says:

    Could not agree more about the ” at risk” road conditions. Monte Vista by Geer must be the worst. Apparently we have been resurfacing roads over by rose circle, not needed at all….does one of the city council members live over there that had some influence on this. Should be investigated for sure !

  8. Our street is perfect! says:

    But the one a block over is cracked & crumbling. There are even partial dirt alleys some places near us & we live in a nice part of town. I have driven through some of the older, lower-rent areas & noticed the cracked & crumbling streets there too. I can only imagine how bad they are if I had explored deeper. But like all cities, Turlock is corrupt, & slanted toward the top, so the pointless downtown area & rich neighborhoods get all of the spending. I think I am going to the next city hall meeting to complain about this on behalf of my neighbors across the way who have horrendous streets in front of their homes, despite being quite a great neighborhood. Taxes don’t need to be increased to do this either. City hall needs to take a pay cut & stop wasting money & time on fruitless projects, like “revitalizing” downtown for nothing.

  9. s says:

    What is the delay with the repaving of Monte Vista Ave?

  10. Concerned says:

    The city of Turlock spends much of it’s time delegating businesses in order to keep a tight reign on all happenings in and around the Turlock area. The idea that Turlock will grow into prospective areas that are currently used as nothing more than wasteland and farmland has been a primary focus for the council. Rather than worrying about whether we may or may not be developing into new counties in the future, we should begin to focus our attention on what we already have. The lack of care for what Turlock already possesses will fall to ruin if the hearts of our council desire quantity more than quality.

  11. s says:

    Would someone please explain to me why the City of Turlock stopped about 200 feet short of completing the median landscape project at Golden State and Tuolumne Road.

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