July 2017 - Issue 65

Annual Board of Directors Meeting

Celebrating Shared Success: 2017 Risk Management Awards

The Effect of Streets and Highways Code Section 5610 on Public Sidewalk Maintenance

Authority Live! on Design Immunity

Newly Elected Officials Academy

Applicability of the Contractual Risk Transfer Manual

Claremont Crisis Intervention and Outreach Saves Trees

Local Streets and Roads Awards Highlight Best Practices
City of Commerce, Eastern Avenue Pavement Rehabilitation Project

News: Worthy

Annual Board of Directors Meeting

The Annual Board of Directors Meeting was held in La Palma on July 20, 2017 with a quorum of delegates in attendance, representing 80 member agencies.

Curtis Morris, President of the Executive Committee welcomed delegates and shared a brief overview of the Authority’s accomplishments and endeavors. 

President Morris recognized the Authority’s newest member, the Orange County Council of Governments.  The Authority’s membership is composed of 116 municipal agencies throughout California: 91 cities, 19 joint powers authorities, and 6 special districts.

The Board of Directors unanimously elected Curtis Morris as President of the Executive Committee. Lori Donchak, City of San Clemente; Darcy McNaboe, City of Grand Terrace; Sonny Santa Ines, City of Bellflower were elected as members of the Executive Committee, each serving a two-year term. 

President Morris presented Risk Management Awards to members that demonstrated superior risk management programs as shown by their cost of claims in both the liability and workers’ compensation programs.01a 2017 Executive Committee edit

Chief Executive Officer, Jon Shull, presented the strategic plan, operational overview, and current initiatives of the Authority, with emphasis on continued commitment to the foundational principals of integrity, excellence, innovation, and teamwork.

The meeting was adjourned to July 18, 2018.

Photo: Front row from left to right: President Curtis Morris, San Dimas; Vice-President Margaret Finlay, Duarte; Secretary Mary Ann Reiss, Pismo Beach; Daryl Hofmeyer, Paramount;

Back row from left to right: Mark Waronek, Lomita; Lori Donchak, San Clemente; Sonny Santa Ines, Bellflower; Darcy McNaboe, Grand Terrace; Tom Chavez, Temple City.

News: Worthy

Celebrating Shared Success: 2017 Risk Management Awards

This year the California JPIA recognized six of its members for their achievements in risk management. The Authority’s Risk Management Awards Program celebrates the members’ risk management successes while it highlights an important point: as a risk pooling organization, the success of each individual member’s risk management efforts benefits all members. The significant improvements in risk management that these members made came as a result of dedicated efforts, sometimes against difficulty or tight budgets. 

Winners of the 2017 awards were recognized at the Annual Board of Directors meeting held on July 19, 2017. Members were divided into groups for which awards were presented. For the Primary Liability Program the groups were Non-Municipal Members, Members without Police exposure, and Members with Police exposure. For the Primary Workers’ Compensation Program the groups were Non-Municipal Members, Members without Public Safety exposure, and Members with Public Safety exposure. 

These awards recognize members that have demonstrated the best overall performance in each program. Authority staff evaluated both quantitative and qualitative factors that are reflective of a member’s risk management efforts. Factors included an agency’s five-year average cost of claims per $100 of payroll, its improvement in claims severity when comparing two, five-year coverage periods, its progress toward completing Loss Control Action Plan items, its Agency Exemplar rating, and its participation in Authority trainings and risk management events.

For the Primary Liability Program, the Best Overall Performance Award winners were:

For non-municipal agencies: Southern California Association of Governments
For municipal agencies without police exposure: City of Bradbury

For municipal agencies with police exposure: City of Fountain Valley

02a News Worthy - RM Awards

Left to Right: Paul Zeglovitch, Liability Program Manager; Basil Panas, Southern California Association of Governments; Kevin Kearney, City of Bradbury; Mark McCurdy, City of Fountain Valley; Cheryl Brothers, City of Fountain Valley; Steve Nagel, City of Fountain Valley; President, Curtis Morris.

For the Primary Workers’ Compensation Program, the Best Overall Performance Award winners were:

For non-municipal agencies: Big Bear City Community Services District

For municipal agencies without public safety exposure: City of Westlake Village

For municipal agencies with public safety exposure: City of Signal Hill

02b News Worthy - RM Awards

Left to Right: Jeff Rush, Workers’ Compensation Program Manager; Shari Strain, Big Bear City Community Services District; Mark Rutherford, City of Westlake Village; Ned Davis, City of Westlake Village; Tina Hansen, City of Signal Hill; President, Curtis Morris.

News: Worthy

The Effect of Streets and Highways Code Section 5610 on Public Sidewalk Maintenance

By Scott Grossberg, Grossberg & Hoehn

One Step At A Time

Imagine that your agency has the ability to transfer the risk and expense of sidewalk repairs and maintenance to adjacent private property owners. To a certain extent, California Streets & Highways (S&H) Code Section 5610 permits just that.

It should come as no surprise that the effectiveness, application, and even the understanding of S&H Code Section 5610 has been a challenge. The statute - intended to provide economic relief to public agencies - is, instead, often misunderstood, misapplied, unacknowledged, and even ignored. Some, in fact, have come to think of this statute as a silver bullet for a public agency to completely deflect litigation arising from an incident occurring on a publicly owned and/or maintained sidewalk. On the other hand, some attempt to implement a program consistent with Section 5610, while at the same time taking steps that actually reduce the effectiveness of the provision.

The most important aspect of implementing and enforcing a program consistent with Section 5610 is understanding the statute's background and the judicial interpretation of its protections.

It's All About Repairs

The interesting thing about Section 5610 is that it affords public agencies the opportunity to assign the complete obligation of sidewalk repair to an adjacent property owner. It even allows an agency to obligate a property owner for the entire cost of repair no matter the cause of any damage or deviation.

Let's go straight to the source. Section 5610 provides, in pertinent part: "The owners of lots or portions of lots fronting on any portion of a public street . . . shall maintain any sidewalk in such condition that the sidewalk will not endanger persons or property."

There's even a jury instruction that addresses sidewalk incidents and adjacent property owners:

CACI 1007. Sidewalk Abutting Property

[An owner of/A lessee of/An occupier of/One who controls] property must avoid creating an unsafe condition on the surrounding public streets or sidewalks.

Do you notice that this jury instruction only addresses a situation wherein the property owner creates an unsafe condition?

And, do you also notice that Section 5610 does not, by itself, shift liability for personal injuries of third parties onto the adjacent property owner?

These small distinctions are of huge importance for public agencies. Section 5610 does not eliminate a public agency's statutory duty of care that might be owed to third parties using a sidewalk with reasonable care. Moreover, Section 5610 does not create a duty of care owed by the landowner to a third party. To put it another way, a public agency is not immune from liability by reason of Section 5610, alone.

Now, some agencies have attempted to completely transfer the risk associated with sidewalks to adjacent property owners for injuries to third parties. The City of San Jose, for example, enacted an ordinance claiming "that an adjacent landowner may be liable to third persons that are injured on a defective city-owned sidewalk." Gonzalez v. City of San Jose (2004) 125 Cal. 4th 1127, 1133.

The property owner, in the Gonzalez case, filed a Motion for Summary Judgment claiming that the San Jose ordinance was, among other things, unconstitutional. The property owner also claimed that, because the trip and fall occurred on public property, he had no liability. The trial court found the ordinance unconstitutional. San Jose appealed.

In the Gonzalez appellate decision, the court reversed the trial court. It noted that Section 5610 does not address civil litigation liability. However, the appellate court went on to find that it is within the police powers of a public entity to enact an ordinance that seeks to impose such liability on an adjacent landowner provided the ordinance does not seek to shift all liability away from the public entity.

Reposition Repairs, Retrench Litigation Risks

Many public agencies have left behind the foreseeable and uniform benefits of Section 5610 and replaced them, instead, with a kind of spotty balancing test that takes place with respect to sidewalk repairs; case-by-case determinations based on multiple factors like location, prior accident history, available resources, etc. One of my favorite “objective” factors is when a public agency tells me, “Well, we’ve always done it that way.”

The benefits and advantages of Section 5610 are powerful but only if you put them to use early, often, and wisely. Remember, Section 5610 is only about maintenance and obligations that a landowner owes to a public entity.

If you want to start relieving some of the exposure to civil litigation arising from sidewalk injuries, you might also consider enacting a specific sidewalk liability ordinance. Your ordinance must be clear and unambiguous in creating a duty of care owed by a landowner to third parties. See, Jordan v. City of Sacramento (2007) 148 Cal. App.4th 1487. Further, it must be consistent with the California Tort Claims Act and provide for concurrent liability of your agency. To put it another way, the ordinance cannot completely shield a public entity from any and all liability for injuries that occur on a public sidewalk. It can, however, impose simultaneous liability on the adjacent landowner.

In Summary

Here are some best practices to consider:

  • Develop and implement a comprehensive sidewalk inspection and maintenance program, which includes routine sidewalk inspections
  • Utilize Code Enforcement and/or your agency's attorney to advise you and enforce the provisions of Section 5610 when a landowner is not maintaining a sidewalk in a non-dangerous condition
  • Enact an ordinance based on Section 5610
  • Consistently enforce your sidewalk repair ordinance

One final note: the scope of this article does not address potential liability for public entities as to defective or reduced-size sidewalks under the Americans With Disabilities Act or applicable disability access laws.

Sidewalk Inspection and Maintenance Program Services

In recent years, the Authority has provided services to help members to reduce risk exposure associated with sidewalk slip and trip claims.

The Authority recently completed a sidewalk inspection and maintenance pilot program for select member agencies. Through coordination with Precision Concrete Cutting, member agency participants have been able to remove over a combined 14,000 slip and trip hazards through the pilot program.

Although the pilot program was only available to a few select members, the entire membership has access to a master services agreement for sidewalk maintenance between the Authority and Precision Concrete Cutting.

All work utilizing the master services agreement must be arranged between the member and Precision Concrete Cutting, including any contract, insurance requirements, scope of work, and payment terms.

The California Public Contract Code excludes maintenance work from bidding requirements related to public works projects. This means that general law agencies likely can forgo requiring bids for this work. To see the relevant sections of the code, please click here. As always, please consult with your agency attorney before proceeding to see if there are any restrictions or other requirements regarding the use of the master services agreement.

Pricing and services information from the master services agreement is available here.

For any questions related to the master services agreement, please contact your assigned Risk Manager.

News: Worthy

Authority Live! on Design Immunity

On Thursday, August 24, 2017 at 11:00 a.m., the California JPIA will present the latest installment of Authority Live! focusing on the topic of design immunity.  In California, design immunity can protect public entities for injuries caused by public construction projects, particularly as it relates to roadways. Authority Live! is a web-based, live event designed for Authority members to receive the latest information on important and topical issues.

The guest speaker for this event is Scott Grossberg, one of Grossberg & Hoehn’s founding partners.  Scott is a litigator, public speaker, trainer and executive coach with wide ranging experience and expertise in various topics including media relations, social media, technology, design immunity, tort claims and police civil liability.

Topics discussed at the event will include California Government Code Section 830.6, what constitutes dangerous conditions, the immunities provided by the Government Code, and how to ensure that they are available.  Please contact Ryan Thomas, Training and Loss Control Specialist, by email or at (562) 467-8775 for more information.

Stay tuned for information on the next Authority Live! event, which will take place in the fall and involve a discussion on active shooters in the workplace. 

News: Worthy

Newly Elected Officials Academy

The Authority recently concluded another successful “Newly Elected Officials Academy”  at the Surf & Sand Resort in Laguna Beach.  The May event was geared towards newly elected officials that were seated from November 2015 through April 2017.  Overall, 16 officials attended the Academy, representing 15 different agencies.  The elected officials heard from seven speakers, including an interactive lunchtime session entitled Polishing the Professional Image

The California JPIA began offering a “Newly Elected Officials Academy” in 2001 because of the need for professional education of newly elected local government officials; to help guide them as they begin their important leadership journey.  What started biennially sixteen years ago has now become a premier event for elected officials.

The Academy focuses on how to be an effective member of a governing body and how to work within the legal, financial and structural constraints of local government. Governing continues to become increasingly complex, and elected officials are confronted with challenging issues relating to the financial stability and health and welfare of their communities. Learning to govern efficiently, ethically, and wisely requires considerable time, effort, and education on the part of the elected official.

This Academy is a hands-on learning experience focusing on the active exchange of ideas and information through a series of sessions presented by professionals experienced in local government. The Academy's curriculum includes discussion on legal, financial, and governmental structure issues for public agencies as well as the elected official’s involvement with risk management issues that are thrust upon the agency - civil rights violations, street design defects, and lawsuits from personnel, and complex risk management issues such as eroding government immunities, lawsuits from personnel, and dealing with the media.

Participants have praised the program both for the quality and usefulness of the sessions and for the opportunity to interact with their peers from across the state.

For questions regarding any of the California JPIA academies, please contact Michelle Aguayo, Training Coordinator.

Risk Solutions

Applicability of the Contractual Risk Transfer Manual

By Melaina Francis, Risk Manager  

The California JPIA developed a comprehensive contractual risk transfer manual (CRTM) designed to assist risk managers, planners, contract administrators, and other staff by providing guidelines and tools to help identify risk exposures, determine insurance specifications and appropriate risk transfer language to incorporate into agency agreements, and more. The manual will also assist members in answering questions related to insurance requirements and indemnity, and help with processes and techniques for allocating risk using risk transfer principles. Members are encouraged to share the manual with their legal counsel and staff that have a role in contract development or execution.

Whether a seasoned risk manager or just starting out, the manual is considered a constant go-to guide.  The CRTM can be accessed via the Authority's website, under Resources and Documents, Category Search: Risk Transfer.  It is available in electronic format with hyperlinks and other embedded clickable resources such as a glossary of risk management terms. For those that prefer a paper copy for highlighting and tabbing, the manual should be downloaded and printed. The current version of the manual is the January 2016, 6.0 Edition. All prior versions of the manual should be replaced with this edition to ensure consistency with agency policy.

Ideally, the person responsible for the oversight of agency’s risk management efforts or the most knowledgeable person on the project should review the scope of work and have a good understanding of the risk exposures for each contract that an agency enters to ensure the insurance requirements are appropriate. Section 1 of the manual walks through each stage of the Contractual Risk Transfer Process to include the following.

  • Step 1 – Analyzing and Estimating Loss Potential

    What losses could result from the contracted activity? Estimate possible loss severity. Appendix A - Risk Analysis Questionnaire is an additional resource to assist staff with this exercise.


  • Step 2 – Specifying Insurance – How much is enough? This is a popular question. However, there is no magic answer. It is important to go through the Step 1 process which should help determine the risk exposures. The limits set should be based on the potential severity of a loss and not tied to the cost of the contract. This is an error that we have seen occur which greatly limits coverage and creates exposure for the member. Appendix B - Insurance Coverages Types is a tool to assist members in identifying the types of coverages to include in contract agreements. Step 2 also reviews the insurance provisions necessary for appropriate risk transfer such as additional insured status, requirements not limiting, primary/non-contributory, etc. 


  • Step 3 -Using Indemnity Agreements - Indemnification is the promise to pay according to the allocation agreement in the contract. Every contract needs an indemnity agreement. Samples are included for each type of contract in the manual, but the indemnity agreement should be approved by counsel. Section 2 of the manual provides more detail on the subject of indemnification. How indemnity language is written is important and determines if the other contracted party is accepting the risk or if the agency is taking on risk, in some cases this could be considered a protected contract. The manual provides a description of a protected contract.


  • Step 4-Verifying Compliance - The most common form of evidence is the ACORD -25 Certificate of Liability Insurance (COI), which presents a snapshot of the contractor’s insurance coverage in place at a specific time. Evidence that the agency has been named as an additional insured on general liability policies is also necessary. Members are advised that it is not appropriate to request for the agency to be named as an additional insured on other policies such as professional liability and workers’ compensation & employer’s liability insurance. One often misconception is that a statement on the COI indicating the member agency has been named as an additional insured is sufficient. The COI is for informational purposes only, and any notations made on this document does not affect the insurance policy.  Only an endorsement can modify the policy which is why it is imperative that agencies obtain these documents. Appendix C- Insurance Compliance contains a checklist to assist members in navigating the ACORD 25   compliance while Appendix D- Sample Forms, contains examples of the ACORD 25 and numerous Insurance Services Office, Inc. (ISO) Endorsement forms. 

There have been cases where members relied upon outdated insurance language in their contract renewals with lower than the minimum recommended insurance limits or failing to include a type of coverage, such as pollution coverage or not specifying that a waiver of subrogation was required leaving the member exposed.

There are many important insurance specifications that should be included in an agency’s agreement that effectively transfers the risk to a consultant, vendor, or contractor minimizing the exposure and potential financial loss for the member. Note that agreement also encompasses permits, purchase orders, and facility use, not only the conventionally written contract. Utilizing an updated template specific to the type of service or project is a good start, for instance, a contract for janitorial service should be written on a vendor agreement and not as a professional services agreement. Understanding when to use a professional, vendor, construction, and a lease agreement is included in the CRTM. Additionally, the Authority has developed contract templates for members as a resource. The contract templates include insurance specifications and indemnity language that are addressed in the Contractual Risk Transfer Manual.  Here is a list of the templates, which can be found in the Resources and Documents library on our website.  Note that members will need to be logged into myJPIA in order to access these templates.

  • Construction Services Agreement   
  • Facility Use Agreement for Sports Complexes/Fields
  • Instructor/Coach Agreement    
  • Commercial Lease Agreement
  • Municipal Maintenance Agreement 
  • Professional Service Agreement for Non-Construction Project
  • Purchase Order 
  • Vendor Agreement

To assist our members, the California JPIA offers Insurance 101, an introduction into insurance basics training; and Contractual Risk Transfer: Strategically Managing Risk, a more in-depth training for the intermediate/advanced risk professional, contract administrator, or legal counsel. Currently in development is a full day course titled, ‘Overview of Public Sector Risk Management’ that contains a module on Contractual Risk Transfer as well as a full day course titled ‘Risk Transfer, Insurance Review and Admnistration’ both of these are part of a new Risk Management Practitioner Certification Program that will be online in the near future. For more information regarding available training, please contact Ryan Thomas, Training and Loss Control Specialist.

Each member agency’s assigned risk manager is available to assist staff with contract reviews, attend planning meetings, provide feedback regarding insurance specifications, insurance language, and risk transfer options. For assistance, please contact your assigned Risk Manager.

Re: Members

Claremont Crisis Intervention and Outreach Saves Trees

The City of Claremont won the Award for Excellence in the Planning and Environmental Quality category of the 2016 Helen Putnam Award for Excellence program from the League of California Cities.Claremont

Residents and visitors alike affectionately refer to the City of Claremont as the “City of trees and PhDs.” When the drought threatened to wipe out a significant number of mature trees in the community, city officials took swift action. With assistance from community volunteers, the city developed and implemented a Tree Crisis Intervention and Outreach Plan to get critical tree care information and tools into the hands of property owners.

Through an educational campaign and direct contact with property owners, the city and its team of dedicated volunteers educated residents on watering techniques that maintained tree health while achieving a 36 percent reduction in water consumption.

Returning to Claremont’s Roots

To find inspiration for its Tree Crisis Plan, the city looked to its own history of volunteerism and tree care. The City of Claremont was founded in 1887 as a Santa Fe railroad stop and home of Pomona College. Two years later, the city council formed a three-member committee on sidewalks and shade trees. One of the committee’s first items of business was to discuss planting 250 trees that had been donated to the township. Word spread of the committee’s plan to plant trees throughout the town, and residents showed up after the meeting to collect trees to plant near the college and town buildings. More than 100 years later, many of these trees still stand as a testament to the community’s volunteer spirit and passion for trees.

“Claremont’s trees and volunteers go hand in hand,” says Mayor Larry Schroeder. “From the very beginning, our trees have survived because of the efforts of volunteers. Today is no different from 100 years ago.” 

Over the years, climate change, development and drought have taken a toll on the city’s urban forest. Claremont has more than 24,000 city-owned street and parkway trees and many more privately owned trees. To minimize the impact of climate change and development, the city’s planners have developed policies and programs that ensure the continued health and growth of the tree canopy. In 2013, the city council revised its tree policy to outline aggressive tree planting procedures and policies. Each year, the city plants hundreds of new trees and replaces trees removed due to disease and displacement. 

Throughout the process of developing and revising tree policies and guidelines, Claremont has relied on community groups and individuals who advocate for trees. The Tree Action Group (TAG) is a community group that formed during the tree policy update and continues to advise the city on tree-related issues. The city also collaborates with Claremont Heritage, the local historical society, and Sustainable Claremont, a community group whose mission is to protect the city’s natural resources. 

“The community’s involvement in creating our tree policies and programs is essential to their success. The depth of knowledge and the professional expertise in our community is unique and is reflected in the health of our urban forest,” says City Manager Tony Ramos.

The Drought’s Effect on the City’s Trees

Following several years of hot dry weather, Claremont conducted a survey of city-owned trees in fall 2014 to get a baseline assessment of their condition. Arborists found hundreds of trees in various states of decline due to disease and drought stress. The city’s arborists worked with an urban forester to categorize the trees as critically, severely or moderately drought stressed. The city outlined a plan to educate property owners on tree care and efficient watering techniques.

In May 2015, Gov. Jerry Brown announced water restrictions and water conservation mandates for California cities to combat the four-year drought. The state gave Claremont a 32 percent water conservation goal. In response, the city enacted water restrictions that prohibited watering more than two days a week, reduced its watering in parks and stopped watering ornamental turf in its medians.

City officials worried that the reduced watering in municipal facilities and private properties would accelerate the decline of Claremont’s drought-stressed trees. Residents driving the tree-lined streets of Claremont began taking note of the many dying and withering trees. Concerned about the condition of the city’s prized trees, residents showed up at city council meetings and stopped by City Hall to express their desire to help save the trees.

The city staff quickly realized that a large group of residents was willing to assist with tree education efforts and began developing a program to put the volunteers to work contacting property owners. The city reached out to Claremont Heritage and Sustainable Claremont to recruit volunteers to educate residents about tree care.

Staff created informational materials and assembled tree-watering kits that contained soaker hoses, watering bags and instructions on how to properly water trees. City staff relied on tree data from the drought assessment to target homeowners with drought-stressed trees in their yards.

Community Response Produces Results

“We expected a few volunteers to show up for training and were surprised by the large number who turned out to help save our trees,” says Community Services Director Roger Bradley. “We were able to target many more property owners than we originally anticipated.”

After a training session with the city’s arborists, volunteers were given tree-watering kits and a list of addresses of homeowners to contact. The volunteers went door to door and demonstrated how to water trees effectively using soaker hoses and tree bags. If residents were not home, the volunteers left door hangers and conducted a follow-up visit with the assistance of staff as needed. The volunteers returned two weeks later to check if the bags and soaker hoses were being used. All visits were documented by the volunteers and given to staff for follow-up.

Throughout summer 2015, Claremont continued to promote tree care through mailers, a special tree care video and interviews with local news stations and newspapers. Residents were encouraged to call the city for information or to schedule a visit from an arborist.

City staff and volunteers contacted 147 property owners through the Tree Crisis Intervention and Outreach program. More than 200 trees received critical watering as a result of the program. In total, Claremont lost less than 1 percent of its trees due to drought stress.

The city invested less than $10,000 for educational materials and equipment for the program. The direct personal contact among volunteers, staff and residents played a key role in the program’s success. By speaking with the property owners, the volunteers could assess the obstacles and misinformation that caused residents to stop watering their trees.

Due to the overwhelming success of the program, the city began the process of contacting an additional 200 property owners on June 1, 2016, using new and returning volunteers. Since then, volunteers have approached approximately 350 property owners and provided assistance for over 500 trees.

Re: Members

Local Streets and Roads Awards Highlight Best Practices
City of Commerce, Eastern Avenue Pavement Rehabilitation Project

(Reprinted from Western City Magazine, July 2017)

The County Engineers Association of California (CEAC) and the League’s Public Works Officers’ Institute announced the winners of the 2017 Outstanding Local Streets and Roads Project Awards at their annual spring meeting in San Diego.

The awards program recognized counties and three cities for their extraordinary efforts to preserve and improve the quality of the local streets and roads system. Imperial County was the overall winner. The City of Commerce, the Town of Windsor, the City of San Diego and Los Angeles County also won in specific categories.

Sponsored by the League, California State Association of Counties and CEAC, the Outstanding Local Streets and Roads Project Awards program features best practices that reduce waste and costs and can be replicated by other jurisdictions. The awards also highlight cities and counties that promote sustainability in the local transportation system.

“Local governments really do have this ‘can-do’ spirit, especially when facing difficult conditions,” said Jay Spurgin, president of the League’s Public Works Department and the public works director for the City of Thousand Oaks. “We see it on a daily basis, but I don’t think the general public recognizes it. So it’s good to celebrate some of these achievements in a more public fashion.”

“This year, with all the storm damage to our local streets and roads, it’s even more important to recognize the need to provide adequate resources for our transportation projects, as well as the value that these projects provide to our local communities,” said John Presleigh, president of CEAC and public works director for Santa Cruz County.

“The public and policy-makers need to know that when we have the resources, we can provide the highest level of service on our streets and roadway systems for our local communities.”

Category: Overall

Winner: Imperial County, Salton City Roadways Project

Imperial County is committed to improving the overall quality of its road system in the most cost-effective, environmentally beneficial and safest manner. In keeping with the county’s commitment, the 2.8-mile Salton City Roadways project employed a sustainable engineering approach that strengthens or recycles existing on-site materials instead of the more costly and more environmentally detrimental “remove and replace” construction method.

This project achieved the following impressive environmental benefits:

  • Used 67 percent recycled asphalt pavement;
  • Recycled 11,043 tons of existing asphalt assets;
  • Conserved 24,774 tons of nonrenewable aggregate resources;
  • Diverted 13,594 cubic yards of subgrade soils from the landfill;
  • Eliminated 4,701 heavily loaded trucks exporting and importing materials to the project site, along with the associated wear and tear on roads, and reduced traffic congestion and fuel and oil consumption;
  • Reduced greenhouse gas emissions and energy usage by 80 percent; and
  • Saved over $1 million.

The Salton City Roadways project demonstrates how the expertise of public works engineers helps solve the financial and environmental challenges associated with asphalt pavement infrastructure.

Category: Efficient and Sustainable Road Maintenance, Construction and Reconstruction Projects

Winner: City of Commerce, Eastern Avenue Pavement Rehabilitation Project


This was not a traditional pavement rehabilitation design and construction project. Eastern Avenue is a major corridor in the City of Commerce with heavy vehicular and truck traffic that connects with the Interstate 5 freeway. The work on Eastern Avenue involved extensive coordination with local businesses to ensure the roadway remained open and minimized the impact on the community.

The project utilized reclaimed asphalt concrete pavement, a cost-effective approach to conventional rehabilitation, which reduced the cost by 50 percent (from $2.3 million to $1.15 million). The city used the savings for additional street rehabilitation projects to improve the quality of life for its residents.

Traditional asphalt is not biodegradable material, and nonrenewable resources must be used to generate new asphalt. Commerce chose a material mix that minimizes waste by repurposing old asphalt, which has the advantages of having already been paid for and being in place. In addition, this approach is sustainable — it significantly reduces the number of trucks needed to transport materials. The material mix also provides excellent bonding qualities and increases the overall quality and durability of the roadway.

The construction schedule was accelerated, despite cold weather and rain, to ensure that residents were not affected during the holiday season between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. Commerce will use a similar approach for future projects.

Category: Complete Streets Projects

Winner: Town of Windsor, Old Redwood Highway Improvement Project

Oakmont Senior Living, the developer of Bell Village retirement community, initiated the Old Redwood Highway improvement project, which is a model of a successful public-private partnership with benefits for the greater local community. Oakmont’s development project comprised both commercial and residential components, and the conditions for the project included making improvements along the frontage of its property on the Old Redwood Highway. As part of the planning process with the Town of Windsor, Oakmont agreed to make improvements on both sides of the highway in exchange for reimbursement in the form of development impact fee credits.

Prior to the project, the Old Redwood Highway consisted of a two-lane road with no sidewalks, intermittent or discontinuous bike lanes, minimal street lighting and no marked street crossings at intersections.

The highway now features green bike lanes, extra-wide sidewalks, two roundabout-controlled intersections, LED streetlights, angled parking, elevated walkways to protect the root structure of some of the heritage oak trees, stormwater drainage units and two pedestrian-activated rectangular rapid flashing beacon warning systems at crosswalks.

This complete street project’s innovative features significantly improve safety and access for pedestrians, bicycles and vehicles.

Category: Safety or Intelligent Transportation System Projects

Winner: City of San Diego, Mira Mesa Phase I Adaptive Traffic Control System

Activated in summer 2016, Mira Mesa Phase I Adaptive Traffic Control System is the City of San Diego’s most complex system deployment designed to improve traffic flow, reduce travel times, enhance safety in a traffic-congested area and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The city was already using the traffic control system at nine intersections on Lusk Boulevard, where the technology reduced travel times and fuel consumption by 24 percent and stops by 61 percent. These results led the city to install the adaptive traffic control system at 11 more intersections, including three controlled by Caltrans, for the Mira Mesa Phase I project.

The Mira Mesa Phase I system initially created new challenges, including implementing a larger Ethernet network; coordinating with another agency, Caltrans; dealing with higher average daily traffic (ADT) of 42,000 vehicles (compared to Lusk Boulevard with 10,000 ADT); and installing equipment at a high-traffic volume intersection with frequent railroad pre-emptions during the peak hours.

The City of San Diego’s team designed and repurposed existing traffic signal interconnect cables to create a robust Ethernet network that could carry adaptive traffic signal system data. High-capacity Ethernet radios with high-definition video transfer capabilities bridged the two short communications gaps that existed between signals on Scranton Road. Staff from the city and Caltrans collaborated to establish a framework for future City of San Diego-Caltrans intelligent transportation system projects, which uses a streamlined permit and deployment process that will benefit the San Diego region.

Travel times along two primary commuter routes in the area have improved by over 20 percent, with a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and fuel consumption. Along Mira Mesa Boulevard, rapid bus routes receive the benefit of the system’s transit signal priority treatment to ensure that these buses are on time.

The Mira Mesa Phase I adaptive system demonstrates the effective use of advanced real-time adaptive traffic control systems in the region and will significantly reduce travel times for thousands of commuters.

Category: Efficient and Sustainable Bridge Maintenance, Construction and Reconstruction Projects

Winner: Los Angeles County, Bridge Capacity System

Collaborating with Caltrans and the Federal Highway Administration, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works developed an innovative, cost-effective and user-friendly program for California regulatory agencies to process Oversize or Overweight Transportation (OOT) permits.

The California Vehicle Code requires an OOT permit for movement of vehicles and loads exceeding statutory size or weight limitations. Many local agencies do not have the technical ability to review overweight vehicle impact on bridges and issue OOT permits without such considerations, which results in a high degree of risk and accelerated degradation of local bridges.

The partnering agencies created the web-based Bridge Capacity System (BCS) software to streamline the review process. BCS provides local regulatory agencies a way to comply with OOT permit requirements that protect existing bridges, ensure public safety and improve the sustainability of local bridges. Its functionality can verify inputted weights of a permit vehicle against the load carrying capacity of all bridges on a route and check bridge clearances to prevent truck collisions with superstructures. The use of geographic information system (GIS) layers of bridge data and street maps eliminates the need for tedious calculations, manual map review and the use of bridge data tables. Staff with any level of engineering experience can use the BCS to conduct a highly technical review quickly and effectively.

The Department of Public Works Structures Section uses the BCS to aid in the permitting process of approximately 40 overload permits per year that exceed the 250,000-pound weight limit. The program also collects data about the most frequently crossed bridges, which provides analysis for appropriate mitigation and funding needs for future bridge maintenance. The program includes data for about 11,000 local agency bridges throughout 58 counties and 482 municipalities in California.

To learn more about the awards program, visit www.savecaliforniastreets.org.