Thursday, February 18, 2010

Soaked Surface Stalls Smooth Spins: JFK Drive Repave Update

Can't wait until all of JFK Drive is smooth like this to the Great Highway

The work stops here for now at 30th Avenue

If you've biked JFK Drive west of Crossover Drive these last few weeks, you never want the smooth spinning to end. And then it does, right about at 30th Avenue. In the midst of biking bliss, the old cracked, ridged, mogul-seeming surface re-appears. If you caught our recent post here, you know it's all about the weather and the winter rains. But haven't we had a clear and dry patch lately?

Rick Thall, Project Manager of the Recreation and Parks Department, provided BIKE NOPA with the back story. "I had hoped that we could get another section of paving done during this dry stretch, but no such luck," Thall wrote in an email.* He explained that both the roadway and the ground below is holding too much moisture. The soaked "under-surface" is an important factor because the repaving involves adding a layer of fabric to the road and then paving over it. "This fabric minimizes current cracks in the road that 'telegraph' through to the new layer of asphalt," Thall wrote. He added, "The main source of failure with this method is from moisture trapped under the fabric."

Recreation and Park is right with the city's cyclists (and motorists) in wanting the route to the Great Highway completed. "As much as I want to get the rest of this paved as soon as possible," Thall wrote, "Paving funds are limited so we need to make sure we follow the proper measures and make sure this paving lasts."

Check the weather forecast and note that rain is expected this weekend. What the repaving effort really needs is a stretch of sunny, clear days so the road bed, the surface and below, dries out. When conditions permit, Thall expects the repaving to be completed in three more stages. Celebrations pending!

* BIKE NOPA quoted Thall, with his permission, from an email he sent to the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition in response to an inquiry about repaving progress.

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