South Pasadena City Councilmembers unanimously voted to award a construction contract to Hardy & Harper earlier this month, tasked to begin the much-needed repaving process in four hard-hit areas.
The city has awarded a $1.15 million contract to the Lake Forest-based firm to begin the first phase of construction in four sections of the city.
A formal bidding process as part of the city’s municipal code and state’s public contract code was administered, according to Public Works Director Ted Gerber.
City staff released a notice inviting bids first posted on Sept. 22. A week later, a notice was submitted to a newspaper publication and was published in local trade journals as well.
“This was spread pretty far and wide to obtain numerous bids,” Gerber said.
Eight bidders submitted proposals during the open process.
The highest bidder was Onyx Paving Company Inc. at $1.44 million. Other bidders included Toro Enterprises, Gentry Brothers, Sequel Contractors, Sully-Miller Contracting Company, All American Asphalt, and LCR Earthwork & Engineering Corp.
Prior to the presentation, residents during public comment urged the Council to begin work on the roads in the hills.
Speakers said that they would present the Council with a petition with more than 187 signatures which support the needs for street repairs.
Councilwoman Janet Braun, in response to the petition, thanked residents for compiling signatures.
“‘This is the way local politics works,” she said.
Braun noted that the city has hired a consultant who will figure out a process for continual street maintenance. The firm will find five to seven areas within the city and define them, and then take on one area at a time.
“The idea would be that the area would be repaved every six years so that the city doesn’t get to a place where streets have not been touched in 40 years,” Braun said.
Consultants also say that the cost of repairing streets grows exponentially after seven years.
One public commenter said streets in the historic Monterey Hills area have not been paved for decades. They have also noted that the streets they live on do not have sidewalks.
“These crumbling streets are narrow and have many blind curves with no proper sidewalks or parkways,” the speaker said. “A pedestrian can easily step in a pothole and break a leg in an effort to dodge a speeding vehicle.”
The following speaker, a resident of Mountain Avenue for 33 years, said she was one of the residents who broke her leg in one of the road’s potholes.
“Over many years, we have been given a band aid-approach with inadequate and substandard asphalt fillers that are short-lived,” she said. “We pay the same taxes as other parts of the city, however they have the benefits of street lighting, landscape maintenance, street cleaning, street calming, and street repaving, along with new and improved sidewalks”
The resident added: “We don’t have the confidence to walk our degraded streets and arrive home safely.”
There will be two phases of repaving in two different areas — the bidding process is in progress for the second phase. The work includes repairing damaged Portland cement concrete sidewalks and driveways at various locations within the project limits. It specifically includes sawcut, removal and disposal of localized failed existing asphalt roadway sections, cold milling of existing pavement, subgrade preparation and compaction, asphalt concrete leveling course and overlay, full depth asphalt concrete pavement, removal and reconstruction of damaged Portland cement concrete curb and gutter, sidewalk, and driveway approaches. It also includes reconstruction of localized failed asphalt concrete pavement areas, utility adjustments, installation of new water meters, services, valves, and appurtenances, traffic loop replacement, traffic signing, thermoplastic striping and pavement markings; traffic control and all related work for the proper construction of the improvements.
The repaving and reconstruction process from the approved bid package will focus on four areas: Alta Vista Avenue from Oak Crest Avenue to Indiana Avenue; Monterey Road from the west city limit near Oak Hill Road to Pasadena Avenue and will include a bike lane that will connect streets from Los Angeles to Pasadena Avenue; a small section of Forest Avenue from Mission Street from the north to the end of the roadway; and Sterling Place from Grand Avenue to the cul-de-sac where city officials held their groundbreaking.
The next steps will be pre-construction meetings with the contractor to start preparations as soon as possible to allow the projects to begin. Contract preparation includes public outreach to residents affected by the work. Staff is in the process of contracting professional support services to test out the asphalt and concrete.
City staff will also look into completing the next set of bid packages, which are currently in design, according to Gerber. The second bid package for 2024-25 will focus on street reconstruction projects, which will require workers to mill down the road, reestablish asphalt or concrete, and, in some cases, rebuild curbs, gutters and sidewalks.
That process is part of a bigger development plan that would divide up the city into seven areas roughly equally in square-footage so that street maintenance would cost the same. Each area has certain fixes that need to be addressed, such as concrete work, dig-outs and resurfacing, making the costs “incomparable,” according to Gerber. Staff is surveying each area to determine the cost of the first round of work to help prioritize where construction would start and how to build out the finances per zone.
“Before we can get there, we have to invest, both in the time and money way, to correct streets that have really fallen well-below standard,” Gerber said. “That’s the key: How much can we organize the streets in a cost-effective way and also find multiple funding sources to inject into those streets so that we can do much more work per year than we have been doing.”
For roads that were slated for minor fixes, Gerber said they may need to be reprioritized because they either aren’t qualified for a simple treatment or other streets need to be prioritized, which would be decided by the city and residents.
“We should plan this infrastructure to last us decades and so we start somewhere, we try to make some real impact with the community by fixing streets and getting them in a livable condition while planning for the future at the same time,” he added.
Funds would be dedicated to work on all or a portion of each area and then rotate through the repairs every year. That step would be accomplished when the city caught up to the backlog of repairs.
“That’s the magic word: funding sources,” Mayor Jon Primuth said. “We really want to be able to stay in a high pace in playing catch-up. I know we have someone dedicated in Public Works to really track grants and to make sure we’re maximizing those opportunities.”
Gerber added that staff will also complete condition surveying of the streets and identify priority areas they want to tackle first, which is based on several factors.
A Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) “Action Plan” will also be developed. The plan will enable the city to access federal funding through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. This is different from the program of the same name, according to Gerber.
“It’s a new iteration of the federal program in which you demonstrate that you’ve done enough analysis and assessment and planning to qualify for federal funding. It’s a report. The other is a temporary program,” Gerber said.
The plan will help staff develop cost estimates to coordinate with the Finance Department on long-term budget planning. A presentation to the Council will follow.
Gerber noted that staff worked to refine the bid package to save costs. He said city officials consulted with engineering firms to take a look at the drawings of the construction zones and was presented with a different type of asphalt to use for the work. Gerber also said the department restructured the package to align with state-regulated requirements and labor codes. The bid package was also the first, fully online submission, saving the city money as well.
“There were a lot of small things we did to the bid package that both improved our pricing and improved our compliance with public contract law,” Gerber said.
First published in the November 17 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.