Operations and Maintenance
Tehama County road crews maintain hundreds of miles of paved roads, unpaved gravel shoulders, drainage ditches, gutters and culverts.
Pavement maintenance includes surface treatments, crack sealing, and pothole patching.
Roadside maintenance activities include snowplowing, mowing, weed spraying, brush removal, culvert and ditch maintenance, street sweeping and litter clean up. Such activities are necessary to eliminate potential hazards from the traveled way, maintain adequate visibility, support the road structure and allow storm water to readily exit the roadway.
In addition, special crews are responsible for bridge maintenance, pavement management, and sign maintenance.
Tehama County Public Works is responsible for maintaining nearly 700 bridges of various types and sizes. Caltrans (California Department of Transportation) inspects approximately 300 of these bridges. The remaining bridges are inspected by County crews. Based on the information provided in the inspection reports, the Road Maintenance Department performs the necessary maintenance such as repairing concrete and replacing old or damaged timbers and bridge railing. Major repairs are designed by the Engineering Department and constructed by contract.
Pavement management staff inspect roads every three years and utilize a computerized Pavement Management System (PMS) to assists the Public Works staff in evaluating, tracking, and ranking pavement conditions based on field inspections. The PMS also helps the road crews prioritize which roads receive a surface treatment.
Weathering and excessive traffic loads cause distress to the asphalt pavement. Excessive distress will lead to cracking, potholes and complete deterioration of the pavement. The most common distresses found during inspections include: potholes, cracking, alligator cracking and rutting. The amount of distress in the sample area determines the pavement condition index (PCI). Our goal is to maintain 50% of our road system at a fair or better condition.
Maintenance activities to minimize these problems and extend the pavement service life include: crack sealing, pothole patching and surface treatments such as overlays, chip seals and slurry seals. Roads that need to be overlaid, chip sealed, or slurry sealed are dependent upon the PMS ranking, traffic volumes, and available funding.
Tehama County road crews maintain hundreds of miles of paved roads, unpaved gravel shoulders, drainage ditches, gutters and culverts. Roadside maintenance activities include snowplowing, mowing, weed spraying, brush removal, culvert and ditch maintenance, street sweeping and litter clean up. Pavement maintenance includes surface treatments, crack sealing, and pothole patching. Such activities are necessary to eliminate potential hazards from the traveled way, maintain adequate visibility, support the road structure and allow storm water to readily exit the roadway.
Applying a surface treatment is the most extensive of the pavement maintenance operations. Such treatments include, placing an asphalt overlay, chip seal, or slurry seal. County crews perform some small asphalt overlays, chip seals and slurry seals and the larger projects are performed by contract.
Crack sealing is one of the most economical pavement maintenance operations for minimizing pavement distress. Pavement cracks allow moisture to seep into the underlying base material. As this material becomes saturated, support for the overlying pavement is reduced. If significant traffic loads pass over the saturated area, the area will sink and a pothole is likely to form. In colder climates, the water will freeze and expand and actually push up the pavement. Crack sealing helps to prevent these problems by prohibiting surface water from seeping into the base material beneath the pavement.
In the winter months, the pavement is cooler and less flexible, which makes is more susceptible to cracking. Add rain and snow, and this is why there seems to be more problems with potholes in the winter. However, potholes are a year round problem. County maintenance crews repair potholes on a continual basis. The repair is usually only considered temporary until a more complete resurfacing can be performed when funds become available.
It is necessary to control roadside vegetation to preserve sight distance, eliminate drainage interference, prevent unsightly growth and reduce fire hazard. Vegetation control consists of mowing, weed spraying and brush cutting. When the fire danger is low, County crews can perform roadside mowing. Weed spraying is performed at the beginning of each growing season. Chemical compounds are applied to roadside areas to control existing undesirable vegetation and retard further growth. Brush cutting and tree removal involves the removal of larger vegetation such as bushes, limbs and small trees that obstruct the traveled way or present a potential safety hazard. County Maintenance Crews perform the majority of the brush cutting operations. Contractors are utilized for larger or more specialized brush cutting and tree removal projects.
Litter and debris often accumulates within the County right-of-way. Large accumulations can constitute health or safety hazards. These areas are cleaned by Road Maintenance Crews.
Drainage maintenance includes such work as necessary to maintain proper drainage adjacent to the roadway and through culverts. This work includes the cleaning and shaping of roadside ditches in conjunction with blading roadside shoulders, cleaning gutters, mechanical sweeping of areas with curb and gutter, cleaning, repairing and replacing culverts.
With the winter season comes the problem of keeping the county roads clear of snow. This task requires the cooperative efforts of everyone.
Usually, there are two separate snow removal operations. The first is during the storm itself and consists of quick passes with the plows to keep the roads open. Priority is given to school bus routes and the most heavily traveled roads. Chains or snow tires are recommended during this period.
The second operation begins when the storm subsides. It consists of widening the cleared portion of the traveled way and cleaning up. This provides space to store additional snow should another storm occur and it improves the safety and usability of the road.
The time required for each operation varies with the severity of the storm, the temperature, the importance of the road, and the availability of personnel and equipment. It may be several days between the first plowing and final cleanup.
Unfortunately, each operation may result in a berm of snow across private driveways or encroachments to County roads. Tehama County does not have the resources to keep private driveways clear. This is the responsibility of each individual resident or business. Reasonable effort is made to plow in a manner that will minimize the size of the berm.
It is important that there are no obstructions such as parked vehicles, refuse cans, trailers, or basketball hoops in the roadway when snow removal is likely to occur. Obstructions impede operations and prevent complete clearing of the road. In some cases, obstructions can prevent an entire street from being cleared. Mailboxes need to be set back far enough from the traveled way to provide sufficient clearance for the snow removal equipment and should be sturdy enough to withstand the snow pushed against them.
Other recommendations include:
- Park vehicles off the roadway
- Have good snow tires or chains and use them as needed
- Residents and businesses should keep the berms cleared from across their driveways
- Pile the snow past the driveway in the direction of travel.
For more information, or to report problems, please contact our office at (530) 385-1462.
Traffic Signs & Safety
Traffic signs provide regulations, guidance and information for the road user. The operations and maintenance crew maintain approximately 8,000 signs. The Department operates a sign shop on an as-needed basis for emergencies and fabricating non-standard signs.
Tehama County utilizes a Field Retroreflectometer to check the reflectivity of each sign on an annual basis. A traffic sign will last 5 to 7 years before it fades and requires replacement. Other reasons for sign replacement include vandalism, accidents and theft. Most of the standard signs are recycled.