A meeting between Public Works staff and Board of REALTORS® members clarified Santa Cruz County’s efforts to designate dirt roads, with no homes on them and receiving no county maintenance, as primitive roads. This allows the county to grade them once or twice a year to keep them passable without the cost and manpower involved in regular maintenance. A Resolution requesting the designation for a number of roads in Ranchettes 17 will go before the Board of Supervisors in March and, once approved, initial maintenance can begin. This also includes removal of “End of County Maintenance” signs and installation of “Primitive Road” signs.
Jesus Valdez, Interim Public Works Director, anticipates a second round of designations by the first of July and every 4 months thereafter until all 5 levels of road maintenance in Ranchettes 17 have received the designation and the initial maintenance. They will then begin on Ranchettes 18, starting with the roads in the best condition and working their way through the five levels of road condition. He is hoping the have the entire process completed in about 18 months on the east side where there are more residences and lots. They will then address the roads on the west side of I-19.
By addressing the roads in increments, the County is hoping to be able to get all roads in Rio Rico to a passable condition. Valdez has requested input from REALTORS® regarding roads they may deem appropriate to move up to a level that will be addressed faster. He also mentioned that they may be able to work with property owners along a road who might be willing to pay for the gravel and/or chip seal to upgrade the road if the county road department does the labor. Such a Public/Private Partnership would benefit both the residents, making the road better, and the County, requiring less future maintenance.
The Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to post the call for bids to construct the Palo Parado Bridge at their regular meeting on January 18, 2012. There will be 6 weeks for companies to respond to the request and an additional 2 to 4 weeks for staff to determine if the bid complies with the specifications in the bid document.
It is anticipated that the contract will be awarded by mid-April. The road will be closed for 12 to 18 months for the construction, but the inconvenience will be rewarded by shorter commute times, reduced fuel use resulting in cost savings for drivers and a reduction in time, fuel and wages for the Santa Cruz Valley USD #35 school buses. Students will also better spend their time doing homework or sports, rather than time on the bus.