RANCHO SANTA FE — At a recent Rancho Santa Fe Association board meeting, field operations manager Arnold Keene provided the board and Covenant members with a county road maintenance update.
Keene began by noting that the county of San Diego oversees roughly 60 miles of Covenant roadway. Additionally, they maintain the road surfaces, striping, culvert maintenance, erosion control and traffic signs.
“They’re out replacing traffic signs right now due to the storm,” Keene said, referring to the heavy winds and rain that occurred over the weekend of Jan. 30.
Keene gave notable kudos to the county for being on hand after the severe weather by helping clear roadways and placing safety barricades.
Keene then provided a glimpse into how the county decides which roads are on the countywide road improvement roster.
“They (county) prioritize major repairs and paving throughout the entire county including the Covenant. So they have a large area with limited resources some years,” he said. “They maintain a five-year plan to list roads but priorities change. Things go up and down on that list and funding goes up and down.”
The list includes all county roads, including ones in the Covenant. Every October there is a list update and input is received from community groups such as the San Dieguito Planning Group.
Keene went onto say how his team looks at the roads, takes photos and compiles documentation for the San Dieguito Planning Group. From there, that packet goes to the department of the county road crew.
Keene said that for the past six years road improvements in the Covenant have been strong. However, that may be changing.
“The majority of the county road projects are funded through the California gas tax. The outlook for that is not good, though, with prices going down,” Keene said. “People are driving less. A lot of the funds that helped with road maintenance and new roads are shrinking.”
Keene suspects that the outlook for road projects within the next couple of years may not be as strong as it was.
In the past five years, Keene said, within the Covenant 11 roads were repaved with rubberized asphalt, which he considered quite substantial. He noted the major improvement to Las Colinas which was done last summer.
Looking ahead, Keene said that they would work with the county to ensure that Rancho Santa Fe is part of the county’s priorities through staff contact and the San Dieguito Planning Group. The goal, he said, is goodwill between both groups since all county road improvement projects must go through the San Dieguito Planning Group.
“It’s a very important group that looks out after your interest,” he said. Keene added, “Interestingly enough, when we first met with the San Dieguito Planning Group, our list of priority roads for resurfacing met very closely with the San Dieguito Planning Group’s list of roads. I feel confident that they have our best interests in mind, and will continue to see if we can get these roads fixed and paved as we move forward.”