NBC 7 Responds met with a group of Carmel Mountain Ranch homeowners about a road they’re having a problem with: Rancho Carmel Drive.
“The road is unsafe to drive on, you need a wheel alignment when you drive on the road every day,” one woman said.
“All the wires for the sensors, for the traffic lights, are exposed,” another man said. “You can see all the wires there.”
“And me, driving my [wheel]chair, I got my wheels stuck in the road and someone actually had to help me cross the street,” Erin Douheret said. “I was crossing the street from this side to that side and my wheel got stuck in one of the potholes and one of the people at the stop light saw it happen and got out of their car and was able to push me loose.”
Erin said she complained to the City of San Diego last year. She said the city replied and she gave them an explanation of where the troublesome areas were but never heard from them again.
All of the people NBC 7 Responds spoke with said they’ve complained to the City of San Diego for years about the road.
“I commented saying Rancho Carmel needs major improvement because of all the potholes and I got a nice letter saying, ‘Oh that’s planned for the Spring of 2014’,” Dawn Nowlin said. “Well it’s three years later, nothing’s happened and it’s just gotten worse.”
A number of the homeowners told NBC 7 Responds they were told by city officials and Councilmember Mark Kersey’s office the road would be repaired by now. Each year, since 2014, they have been told construction would begin by the end of each year. That hasn’t happened.
“Where are our tax dollars going?” Leslie Hemmerling said. “That’s what frustrates me.”
Last week, NBC 7 Responds met with Kersey on Rancho Carmel Drive to talk about the road repair delays.
“This street is in terrible shape, there’s no doubt about it,” Kersey said. “It’s like getting the oil changed in your car, you’ve got to do it every so often and if you don’t, all of a sudden you’ll have problems with your engine. That’s what’s going on here.”
Kersey said Rancho Carmel Drive is in such bad shape, it has to be completely ground down, an overlay job rather than just a top-coat of slurry. Serious road repairs like Rancho Carmel Drive, Kersey said, are batched together into a contract and the Rancho Carmel Drive contract has hit some hurdles.
“It was scheduled to go out and then you had some issues, there were some Caltrans things, and some other utility work being done and if that impacts a few streets in the contract, the whole contract gets delayed,” Kersey said.
Anthony Santacroce, a Senior Public Information Officer with the City of San Diego said among the items delaying the contract were regulatory and environmental changes at the state level, like tree-root requirements.
When asked when the repairs may be complete, Kersey said, “I’m not going to give people a specific month or date because, you know, let’s say we get an especially wet winter like last year, that will delay the paving. I’m not going to tell people a specific month and then they come back that month and say why is it not happening.”
This is something the Carmel Mountain Ranch neighborhood has said they heard before.
After accepting bids the past few weeks, Kersey and Santacroce said they expect the contract to be awarded within the next few weeks, meaning the road work would begin early next year. Santacroce added among the roads in the contract, Rancho Carmel Drive has been given “high priority.”
“Here we live in San Diego, we don’t get extreme temperatures or snow,” Carmel Mountain Ranch resident Bob Parks said. “There’s no reason why this road is in the condition it is with the beautiful weather we have out here.”