FAIRFIELD — Fixing McGary Road once and for all has proven a challenge, but Fairfield officials say the end is near.
The city is ready to do what it hopes will be a final repair job on the 2-mile stretch within its borders. The work is scheduled to close McGary Road from Red Top Road to Lynch Canyon Road for up to seven days, beginning Monday.
Fairfield Construction Manager Tom Martian describe the work as “minor” and said it could cost $140,000. Three small dips need to be repaired. Money is to come from remaining federal funds used to do a $2.5 million renovation job in 2010.
“We’re not using any city funds on this fix,” Martian said.
It’s the latest chapter in a long quest to keep McGary Road open. McGary Road provides the only convenient bike link between Fairfield and Vallejo, a surface-road route between Fairfield and Lynch Canyon Open Space Park and a frontage road for Interstate-80 traffic in case of freeway accidents.
Fairfield closed a 2-mile stretch of McGary Road in 1998 because landslides tore up pavement. The landslide problem appeared to be solved when the state built giant drains to stabilize the hillside and save adjacent Interstate 80, which also had pavement problems.
In 2010, Fairfield with much fanfare repaired and reopened McGary Road. Money came from a variety of sources, including federal stimulus money.
Fairfield prepared to turn its section of McGary Road over to Solano County, since the segment runs through an undeveloped area. But in 2011, depressions in the pavement appeared at a couple of locations, prompting the city to put up yellow “dip” signs. Solano County put the road transfer on hold.
The city made temporary repairs and started investigating the matter. Public works officials said they were uncertain if the landslide was causing problems again or if some settling issue tied in with the 2010 rebuilding project had cropped up. The city had a geotechnical study done.
The results: The dips appear to be caused by a settling issue related to the rebuilding project.
Martian said the problem is that soils were not compacted well in the transitional area between the new soils where the road was rebuilt and banks of existing soils. The rebuilding job in this area involved excavating soil 30 feet deep and re-compacting soil, with tie-ins to the existing soils. Perhaps loose materials from the old Highway 40 that went along this route got left behind in the transitional areas, he said.
“It has nothing to do with any further slides,” Martian said.
Doing the repair work when the road is closed is safer than doing the work with traffic controls, he said.
At its Feb. 18 meeting, the City Council approved seeking an agreement with the state Department of Finance to extend the time period Fairfield can use the $1.6 million in federal funds allotted to the original renovation project.
Otherwise, the city would have lost the remaining $157,632 at the end of June. Then it would have had to use such local funds as the gas tax to make the latest repairs, a City Council report said.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.