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City lacks street smarts

Audit points out road-repair inefficiencies likely to hinder mayor's goal

According to a March 3 audit, street conditions will deteriorate as long as city crews continue to ignore the guidelines set forth when tearing up the street to access storm drains, underground utilities, and sewer and water mains.

The dismal forecast runs counter to mayor Kevin Faulconer's goal of repairing 1000 miles of San Diego's streets by 2020.

The audit also revealed that oftentimes crews do not have the proper equipment to conduct repairs to emergency water and sewer trenches, which adds to the already growing infrastructure backlog and increases the risk of street flooding during storms. And when the repairs are done, crews fail to follow set standards that are in place to prevent water from seeping into the street, potentially causing large pieces of roadway to sink and even crumble.

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The city audit included recommendations on ways the city can improve, such as hiring additional staff, ensuring those workers are properly trained, purchasing new equipment, and improving oversight.

"With the prioritization of infrastructure improvements and maintenance, the city can expect an increase in excavation activity and other projects that will impact the public right-of-way and street conditions. We found that by strengthening project coordination efforts and compliance with the Street Preservation Ordinance, the city can help minimize impacts to streets caused by excavations."

City staff agreed with many of the recommendations, according to the report. They plan to implement new training procedures, purchase new equipment, and introduce additional solutions.

The poor condition of city roads and sidewalks has resulted in a number of lawsuits against the city, several of which have been reported by the Reader. The most recent was filed by a cyclist who suffered substantial injuries after he fell from his bike after hitting a large pothole in La Jolla.

The audit will be presented to the city council's Audit Committee at a March 9 hearing.

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According to a March 3 audit, street conditions will deteriorate as long as city crews continue to ignore the guidelines set forth when tearing up the street to access storm drains, underground utilities, and sewer and water mains.

The dismal forecast runs counter to mayor Kevin Faulconer's goal of repairing 1000 miles of San Diego's streets by 2020.

The audit also revealed that oftentimes crews do not have the proper equipment to conduct repairs to emergency water and sewer trenches, which adds to the already growing infrastructure backlog and increases the risk of street flooding during storms. And when the repairs are done, crews fail to follow set standards that are in place to prevent water from seeping into the street, potentially causing large pieces of roadway to sink and even crumble.

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The city audit included recommendations on ways the city can improve, such as hiring additional staff, ensuring those workers are properly trained, purchasing new equipment, and improving oversight.

"With the prioritization of infrastructure improvements and maintenance, the city can expect an increase in excavation activity and other projects that will impact the public right-of-way and street conditions. We found that by strengthening project coordination efforts and compliance with the Street Preservation Ordinance, the city can help minimize impacts to streets caused by excavations."

City staff agreed with many of the recommendations, according to the report. They plan to implement new training procedures, purchase new equipment, and introduce additional solutions.

The poor condition of city roads and sidewalks has resulted in a number of lawsuits against the city, several of which have been reported by the Reader. The most recent was filed by a cyclist who suffered substantial injuries after he fell from his bike after hitting a large pothole in La Jolla.

The audit will be presented to the city council's Audit Committee at a March 9 hearing.

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Featured local artists include Eli-Mac and Lea Love
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