Mon10202014

News

Street-slurry project on Portola triggers upset

A street-surfacing project near Egan Junior High School that required uprooting a freshly slurried portion of West Portola Avenue to construct a raised crosswalk and then reapplying a second coat of slurry left at least one resident decrying the project as a waste of city funds.

But officials say their timing for the projects – dictated by weather and availability of funds – eliminated potentially higher costs in the future had they waited until after the crosswalk was completed.

Jim Gustafson, Los Altos engineering manager, said the slurry project, comprising a $0.13-per-square-foot oil and sand mixture applied to pavement to prolong the street’s life, began after the city determined it was less expensive than repaving.

Caltrans had yet to approve the raised Safe Routes to School crosswalk, and Gustafson said that if the city failed to complete the slurry while the weather was warm, they would have had to wait until 2013, risking unrecoverable wear and tear to the street.

Larry Lind, senior city engineer, said it was more efficient to slurry the entire road than to skip the site of the planned crosswalk.

But to neighbor Jim Peck, the project, which cost an extra $2,000 for the second coat of slurry, could have been handled better.

“As a person who gets Social Security, $2,000-plus is a lot of money to me,” wrote Peck, an insurance broker, to Mayor Ron Packard. “The waste … in these tight times certainly is not acceptable to me or my neighbors, who are paying for this waste.”

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