Heights to see road repairs

By Daniel Hernandez
La Habra Journal

The La Habra Heights City Council approved a plan at its August meeting to repair the worst parts of the dilapidated roads in the city.
After eight paving companies submitted bids to the city, The R.J. Noble Company’s bid of $568,656 turned out to be the lowest plan and much lower than the estimated cost for the road construction project.Seal_La Habra Heights
“Their unit price for the grind and pave is what got them this job. It’s a really, really good price,” said Dave Nichols, La Habra Heights public works manager.
Because the bid was lower, city staff asked council to approve an increase in the expected contingency plan and raise it from 15 to 38 percent.
The $133,235 contingency plan allows Nichols to use his own discretion with change orders or extra work to the areas planned for work. The total amount approved for this project is $787,189.
According to the council, the plans are to repair the worst parts of East, Fullerton, Hacienda and West roads. The project is expected to take about two months to complete, according to La Habra Heights City Manager Shauna Clark.
Clark and her staff were able to scrounge the nearly $800,000 for the patchwork road repair job from six different funding and tax sources, $150,000 of which is from an expired city road tax.
The largest of the funding source, $300,000 is from an already existing gas tax.
“The staff did an incredible job of squeezing every nickel out of the budget and re-directing it towards roads,” LH Heights Mayor Michael Higgins said.
City Council members voted unanimously  to award the contract to R.J. Noble of Orange, authorize the contingency plan as well as authorize Nichols with a counter signature by the city engineer to issue change orders as necessary for this project.
According to its website, R.J. Noble has been around for over 60 years.
“The R. J. Noble Company is a Class A, General Engineering Contractor specializing in grading and asphalt paving, subcontracting underground, electrical and concrete work,” the company’s website stated.
During the road construction the streets will remain open, but residents will have to drive on rough roads for a couple of days, Nichols said.
Council members at the meeting were handed pictures of some of the biggest problems with the streets in LH Heights, using the images captured by Nichols back in April and May as a description of the work needed to be completed.
Although the pictures were available to council, Mayor Pro Tem Kyle Miller hopes city staff will be able to share these images with the public in an effort to help the community understand the need for more public funds for more major road repairs.
In 2012 a road tax that would have raised $1 million annually was defeated by voters, and since that time council has mulled different ways the city might be able to better educate community members about the need to repair the aging infrastructure.
“You can’t walk 500 feet down any street … without seeing a pothole in the making or cracks or alligatored asphalt,” Nichols said. ”We’re still hopscotching around and taking care of the worst problems.”
The city does not have the funds to do a complete job to repair the roads, Nichols noted.
The damage to the city roads is from normal wear and tear, according to Nichols.
With this patchwork road repair job the city hopes to alleviate some of the worst problems, so when a larger solution arises, the costs are not too large.

Started in 1995, the La Habra Journal is an independent community news source serving the cities of La Habra and La Habra Heights.