FP2 Sorenson Award Given to Town of Morga, CA

Faced with a declining pavement condition index (PCI) and no way to fund improvements, Moraga undertook a wide-ranging public outreach that led to 70% approval of a sales tax for pavement preservation

Fp2 Sorenson Award Judith Corley Lay & Edric Kwan

The Town of Moraga, CA, was honored by FP2 Inc. with the 2019 James B. Sorenson Award for Excellence in Pavement Preservation.

The award was presented to Moraga public works director/town engineer Edric Kwan, P.E., at the October annual meeting of the Rocky Mountain West Pavement Preservation Partnership in Park City, UT. 

The Sorenson Award is presented by FP2 Inc. to recognize superior pavement preservation practice, usually to a city, township, county or state agency. The deadline for entries for the year 2019 is June 1, 2020. 

The Town of Moraga is a semi-rural community of 17,416 located east of Oakland. Moraga was incorporated in 1974 and in the years that followed, its street network of 56 centerline miles was neglected due to lack of dedicated funding. 

"By 2012, Moraga's Pavement Condition Index (PCI) had deteriorated to 49 and was ranked in the bottom 15 of all 109 Bay Area cities and counties," Kwan said. "The town’s pavement network was at a critical juncture, with a backlog of $25 million in pavement needs. Without significant maintenance, the town’s network would deteriorate at a more rapid rate and put much of the network at risk of falling into poor condition."  

EXEMPLARY PUBLIC OUTREACH 

Recognizing the funding shortfall and community needs, the town embarked on an intensive and thorough grassroots public outreach program through a Revenue Enhancement Community Outreach to Neighborhoods (RECON) committee to communicate the critical need of the town’s roads.

After a vigorous public outreach, town voters approved Measure K on Nov. 6, 2012 -- instituting a 1 percent sales tax -- with a 70 percent approval rate. It was clear after the passing of Measure K that the need to improve town roads was real and very important to residents and the local community. 

By leveraging $600,000 of the $1.7 million annual sales tax revenue, the town yielded $7.7 million to complete an intensive three-year pavement repair program focused on residential streets, with the first year (2013) concentrating on preventive maintenance, second year (2014) on overlays, and third year (2015) on reconstruction treatments. 

Educating the public from the start that Measure K is a critical funding source to help address, but not fix, the town’s entire pavement network set realistic expectations by expressing that the $7.7 million would only tackle 30% of the $25 million in backlog needs. 

Part of the education process also explained why applying the “right treatment, in the right place, at the right time” is better than the fixing the “worst case first.”

A simple analogy that pavement is like a house needing preventive maintenance helped drive home this pavement management philosophy. 

Public outreach for the intensive pavement program over three years included pre-construction activities such as letters mailed to affected residents, door-to-door education by volunteers, and two town hall public outreach meetings. 

It included construction literature such as a public outreach brochure, frequently asked questions and door hangers; a project website with up-to-date project status reports and a three-week look ahead; a Facebook site; and notifications two weeks in advance of work and three days in advance of no-parking signs. 

Signage also was important, including contractor equipment and workers identifying Measure K funding, neighborhood entrances identifying Measure K funding, and lawn signs urging Shop Moraga First to support Chamber of Commerce’s endorsement of Measure K, and to enhance sales tax receipts. 

"The three-year intensive pavement program effectively stopped the hemorrhaging of the town’s failing pavement network," Kwan said. "Through being good stewards of the local sales tax revenue, the leveraged funds raised the town’s network PCI significantly, from 49, a network at risk, to 70, a network in good condition."  

ABOUT THE SORENSON AWARD 

Jim Sorenson (1949-2009) was senior construction and system preservation engineer, FHWA Office of Asset Management, and he was a great champion of pavement preservation at the national level. 

The pavement preservation industry had no greater friend, and FP2 honors Jim's memory with the Sorenson Award. Intended to recognize agency pavement preservation, the Sorenson award is usually, but not always, presented to municipal or county road agencies, or state departments of transportation. 

To nominate an agency, submit materials to FP2. Please include: 

  • A write-up of how the agency gained acceptance and support for its pavement preservation program
  • How long the program has been in existence, any special or unique public awareness actions
  • Press releases relating to the preservation program
  • Name of the contact person in the agency; and
  • Name of the person or firm making the nomination
  • Criteria to evaluate candidate agencies include:
  • Process used to gain acceptance by elected officials, general public, employees, and industry (40%)
  • How well the program relates to the theme of The Right Treatment, for the Right Road, at the Right Time (20%)
  • Tangible improvement in the system (20%)
  •  Techniques used to keep public notified of what is being done and why (10%); and
  • Uniqueness of program (10%). 

For more information, or to submit nominations, please contact FP2’s executive director, Jim Moulthrop, at 8100 West Court, Austin, TX., 78759, voice (512) 970-8865, e-mail at jimmoulthrop@gmail.com.  

PAST FP2 AWARD WINNERS 

FP2 awards given 2005-2007 were called the Pavement Preservation Excellence Award. In 2009 it was renamed James B. Sorenson Award for Excellence in Pavement Preservation. 

  • 2005 - City of Los Angeles, CA
  • 2006 - Frederick County, MD
  • 2007 - City of Nashville, TN
  • 2009 - California Department of Transportation
  • 2010 - County of Rockland, NY Department of Highways
  • 2013 - New Hampshire Department of Transportation
  • 2014 - Charleston County, SC
  • 2015 - Bureau of Street Services of the City of Los Angeles
  • 2016 - Ohio Department of Transportation
  • 2019 - Town of Moraga, CA
Latest