Richmond streets in 'fair' condition according to latest pavement survey

Richmond streets in 'fair' condition according to latest pavement survey
A recent pavement survey in Richmond revealed the city's streets are in "fair" condition. Photo/ Linda Hemmila

Richmond streets conditions are 'fair' according to a recently completed city-wide pavement survey. The overall roadway network received a pavement condition index of 61, just below the statewide average of 65.

Thirty-six percent of Richmond's roads are in really good condition. One-third of our roads are in fair condition, while another third are in poor or very poor condition, according to Margot Yapp, President of NCE, a consulting firm that conducted the survey.

Richmond's network of streets received a pavement condition index of 61.

"It is a mixed report card; it is definitely not an A plus," Yapp said at Tuesday's Richmond City Council meeting. "Sixty-one is an average condition."

The Pavement Condition Index scale runs from a newly paved roadway with a score of 100. A PCI of 70 and under is considered good, while under 50 is poor. A PCI score of 25 and under is very poor or failed.

Yapp said Richmond was improving its roads, and pavement conditions were pretty stable, but it has begun to show a downward trend over the last three or four years.

"I think that is a red flag for all of us," Yapp said.

Richmond's 290-mile roadway network is equivalent to a 12-foot-wide road that extends from here to Vancouver, Canada, according to city staff. 

Richmond's streets have a value of $742 million or nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars, according to Yapp.

Streets in the best condition cost the least to maintain, while the very worst require the most expensive repairs. A slurry seal repair on a very good roadway will cost $3.50 per square yard, while a complete surface reconstruction on a very poor road will cost more than 40 times as much at $148 per square yard.

Yapp said Richmond has an aggressive preventive maintenance program, but it is not sufficient to address all the good streets in the city.

"At the current funding level, which is about $4 million a year for paving right now, we are going to project that the PCI will drop from its current level of low 60s to 46 in 10 years," Yapp said. "You are back to where you were in 2005."

Current Funding Level: $4 million per year

To preserve the city's current fair pavement condition index, Yapp said Richmond needs to invest about $15 million annually for the next five years.

To fix every street in the city, Richmond would need to invest $21 million yearly for the next ten years. A PCI score of 80 is considered a best management practice, but few agencies achieve that goal. 

According to a report card released by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission in November, only six Bay Area jurisdictions received PCI scores in the very good category in 2022. Orinda, Cupertino, Palo Alto, Brentwood, Dublin, and Solano County all received a PCI of 80 and above.

Richmond's PCI compared with other cities

Councilmember Cesar Zepeda likened maintaining Richmond's street network to a hamster wheel. 

"To spend $15 million a year to keep our streets at the same PCI, we are just going to move some bad roads around," Zepeda said.

Tawfic Halaby, Deputy Public Works Director of Operations and Maintenance, said the department could do a good job with $15 million annually for the next five years. Anything over $15 million would become overly disruptive to residents.  

"We would need to coordinate with all the utility companies, so we would have a lot of planning to do if we start getting more than 15 million a year," Halaby said.

Grandview has requested information about the condition of individual streets in Richmond. In the meantime, please send your favorite photos of potholes on your street to

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