Local cyclists to test out new surface options for Hwy. 1

ktanner@thetribunenews.comJuly 11, 2013 

An arrow marker in the newly paved section of Highway 1 is littered with loose pieces of the new larger paving aggregate.

JOE JOHNSTON — jjohnston@thetribunenews.com Buy Photo

Local cyclists are looking forward to taking test rides on eight separate segments of Highway 198 south of King City on Saturday morning to help Caltrans and UC Davis determine which treatment likely will work best to smooth out the rough surface left by a chip seal job on Highway 1 north of Cambria last fall.

Results of the UC Davis tests and other studies could have statewide implications.

The Highway 1 resurfacing completed in October left loose rocks on the road that passing vehicles would kick up, pelting bicyclists and other vehicles, and turned what many say had been a world-class biking experience into bone-rattling, tire-hammering misery.

Road surface experts will do scientific surface studies, too, but “we’re hoping the riders’ qualitative opinions” of the various new surfaces “will inform us for the Highway 1 situation and for projects statewide,” Tim Gubbins, Caltrans District 5 director, said.

That’s all good news for people who have been pressuring Caltrans to fix the problem, including Supervisor Bruce Gibson, other members of the San Luis Obispo Council of Governments, chambers of commerce and members of bicycling and auto-rally clubs, including Slabtown Rollers Cycling Club of Cambria.

“To our knowledge, nothing like this (testing program) has happened in our state before,” Slabtown member Sharon Jordan-Evans wrote in an email. “They’ve asked local cyclists to participate in the research effort, and we are thrilled to be involved.”

Evans said the testing’s goal is to determine which of the eight options will provide “a cost-effective approach to smoothing out a very rough surface.” Besides the hoped-for fix for Highway 1, the tests “could also be used to establish future smoothness standards for roads all over California.”

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