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Wickersham Road News
April 10, 2008


  • Thanks
  • Annual Road Dues
  • Gate Combo Change
  • 2008 Watershed Restoration Grant Progres
  • 2008 Revised Work Plan
  • Road Use Reminders


Thanks to Joe White, Art Viramontes and their respective assistants and staff for helping clear culverts during the winter storms. WE had a number of blockages that could have resulted in severe road damage, but, as always, our vigilante neighbors were there to deal with the trouble in short order.

Thanks also to Dave Otero for spending several days with his own equipment working on incidental slides above the slip.

The slip remains stable and small amounts of loose material slid into the inboard ditch on several occasions. Dave spent several afternoons removing this material in order to keep the inboard ditch free to avoid charging the road base above the slip.

If any Owners know of others who did volunteer work on the road this year, please let us know so that they can be duly acknowledged.

And thanks to all Owners who regularly pick up garbage, remove rocks, clear downed trees and assist with numerous other invisible tasks that help keep the road functional.

Annual Road Dues

Annual Road Dues are now due and payable. Please refer to invoices included herein. Please recall that the Road Association sends ONLY one invoice per parcel to the Primary Owner listed for a parcel and that collection of dues from various partners is the responsibility of the Primary Owner. The Road Association does not invoice partners separately.

Also please note that we have not had to assess any supplemental dues for various incidents over the last few years. This year there were several culvert blockages that required immediate attention. Several of those culverts need immediate replacement. We still want to advise the Owners that it may be necessary to assess supplemental dues in order to permanently fix these problems while still performing regular maintenance.

Since the rest of the winter was so light, we are planning on approaching the year with only the regular dues resource. We will notify the Owners at a later time if a supplemental assessment is necessary.

Thanks to all the Owners who sent dues in already and apologies for getting the dues notice out so late.

Gate Combo Change

The gate combo will change on: Sunday May 4, 2008 The new combo will be: ************

2008 Watershed Restoration Grant Progress

Due to overall Program funding shortfalls resulting from the Governor's budget cuts, the 2008 Watershed Restoration Grant for which we applied last year has not been funded.

Our application is on a waiting list and, should portions of the Program Budget be restored, may be funded later this year. At this time, this does not look promising.

Should the Grant not be funded this year, we will likely resubmit the Grant for the 2009 funding cycle. In the mean time, we will shift to Plan "B" for use of our own 2008 resources for Regular and Long Term Road Maintenance.

This outcome is unfortunate as the Road Committee invested substantial time in developing and preparing the application. The effort, however, is not lost as the ground work will still be valid for the next application cycle.

2008 Revised Work Plan

Since the Grant work will not be performed this year, there are several areas that require immediate attention. Fortunately, we appear to have had a mild winter and little damage has occurred on the road.

This will allow us to focus current year resources on our current Long Term Maintenance Strategy.

Strategy Reminder: The outline below describes the Long Term Maintenance Strategy we have been pursuing for the last seven years. This strategy has proven successful in reducing regular maintenance costs while allowing for long term improvements to both the road and the surrounding watershed components.

Item Description Completion

Priority 1: Basic Road Geometry Corrections at Critical Areas

(Approx. 9 miles out of 14 miles of total toad length)

Basic structural adjustments to the road to increase side drainage and reduce concentrated runoff on the road surface.

This has led to longer surface life for each section completed.

This has occupied the highest priority because it delivers the largest overall system improvement for the money. Prior to starting the road surface was badly designed, required annual maintenance and repair at most locations, using most of the annual maintenance resource and leaving little for Long Term Improvements.

This task now utilizes only 15% of the annual resource.

80% Approx 2 miles remaining

Priority 2 Critical Culvert Replacement

(Approx. 45 of 83 total culverts)

Replacement of undersized or failing culverts.

This has had a lower priority because it requires a substantial portion of the annual resource while correcting only small sections of the road system.

ow that Priority 1 is largely complete, we can shift annual resources to focus on this priority.

The 2008 Grant was designed to address this issue by replacing 8 of the critical culverts.

13 replaced 32 remaining

Priority 3: Critical Road Surface Hardening

(Approx. 5 miles out of 14 miles total road length)

Rock application at critical locations. Some of this work has occurred in conjunction with the Road Geometry adjustments. Other areas remain and require rock to stabilize the native surface. Additionally hardening is required at most corners where dust and snot are recurring problems due to grinding by vehicle turns.

Again this has been a lower priority in most locations because more was accomplished with limited resources by focusing on the basic geometry.

Now that much of the geometry is corrected, resources can be shifted to this priority. Some of this work will occur in conjunction with culvert replacement on corners.

Some of this work was also embedded in the 2008 Grant. This portion will be deferred pending successful funding of the grant in 2009.

Critical areas, such as the approach to Tombs Creek Bridge will be undertaken immediately.

20% complete Approx 4 miles remaining

Priority 4 Non Critical Surface Adjustments

(Approx. 3 miles of 14 total road miles.)

Remaining adjustments at road sections where slopes are moderate and annual damage is minimal. Many of these areas include level sections of road where puddling occurs without generating surface failure.

Many of these sections.


Priority 5 Non Critical

Culverts (Approx 38 )

Additional; culverts will require replacement either because they are failing from age, poorly aligned or undersized. Non-critical culverts are those that exhibit these conditions but pose little threat of immediate failure or damage to either the road or the watershed. 0%

Priority 6 Non Critical Road Hardening

(Approx 3 miles of 14 total road miles)

Non critical road hardening includes areas that exhibit little damage from annual use and weather but might benefit at times from the addition of rock. Additionally, non-critical hardening includes areas where rock would reduce regular maintenance on a limited basis. 0%
Priority 7 Bridge Replacement

The Tombs Creek Bridge requires eventual replacement as it is both too narrow for some vehicles and poorly aligned with the approaches.

This occupies a lower priority simply because it represents a substantial expense. Estimates range from $50k to $150k to replace the bridge.

t is anticipated that bridge replacement will require a special assessment which will accelerate implementation.

Regular Maintenance

Regular Maintenance is an ongoing task and takes priority over most tasks above. Regular maintenance includes basic grading and surface repairs.

On portions of the road that have been adjusted, this task has been reduced from an annual requirement to one occurring every 4-5 years for a selected section of road. This results from better drainage to the sides of the road and less rutting and gullying along the road surface. As an example, the section of Lower Snot Hill that was adjusted 4 years ago is nearing the point where light grading is necessary to correct ruts. Previously this section required substantial grade repair each year and still failed at times during the winter. This section has been bullet proof during the winter since it was adjusted.

Emergency Maintenance

Emergency Maintenance includes response to failures from winter storms such as culvert blockages and severe road damage.

Some severe damage will not be addressed immediately as repairs during winter usually cause more damage than they correct. Immediate response is usually limited to watercourse failures such as culvert blockages and overall road collapse.

For 2008, the following tasks are currently being planned:
Rock placement at the Tombs Creek Bridge approach. This section continues to present one of the worst hazards for winter road use. Rather than wait on the possible 2009 Grant, we want to correct this situation this year.  
Rock Placement above Tombs Creek bridge and below Lower Snot Hill This is the section of gray material below Peter Beal's vineyard that continues to hold water during the winter. The basic material is not suitable for winter road surface and rock is necessary to stabilize it for the amount of use we now get in the winter time.  
Culvert Replacement on 2 Mile Hill

Replacement of one or more of the undersized and failing culverts on 2 mile hill.

We have already replaced a number of culverts on 2 Mile Hill, but several more remain that are undersized and regularly throw water onto the road.

Incidental grading Incidental "Comfort" grading on various portions of the road to correct minor rutting and potholes.  
Sinkhole Repair of the sinkhole near mile 6.2. This will include temporary rock only. It is assumed that the hole is caused by the undercutting of an old Humboldt crossing that is buried under the road.  
The Slip Removal of limited material from the cut at The Slip to reduce incidental slides next year. Some of this material is suitable for road surface rock above Tombs Creek Bridge.  
































































Additional strategic notes.

We would like to initiate more aggressive Culvert Replacement Program. As there are over 30 culverts that need replacement due to under sizing or actual failure, we have a substantial task. Culverts can absorb from $3,000 to $5,000 each in resources. This limits replacement to two per year with regular road dues (assuming dues are not absorbed by emergency maint.)

Should the current Grant Application fail to be funded either this year or next year, the Owners should be prepared to commit to a more substantial Culvert Replacement Program. Ideally we should assume a ten year window to replace most of the critical culverts. This represents 3-4 per year. However, culvert replacement is more efficient when more units are dealt with in a single job. This spreads mobilization and overhead over a larger number of culverts and reduces the unit cost per culvert.

Therefore we should try to reserve resources and initiate a culvert project every two years at a larger scale. This should be coupled with a Supplemental Dues Assessment in those years to allow for a more comprehensive project. Replacing as many as 8-10 culverts in a single project would result in the most efficient use of our resources.

Regular Road Use Reminder

The following is the regular reminder about use of the Road. Please share this with all guests and vendors.

  • Always lock the gate; regardless of whether it was unlocked when you got there.
  • Make sure the combo is NOT left on the lock or the lock will not lock. Spin the numbers before locking and test the lock to make sure it is locked.
  • If you wish to leave the gate open for a car that may be following, please wait at the gate while it is open.
  • Please pick up litter and debris that does not belong on the road. If you are at the Front Gate and see litter, please assist in picking it up for removal. This makes the Front Gate more attractive for all users.
  • Please remove rocks or trees that have fallen onto the road. (If you remove a large tree or perform other substantial work in keeping the road open, please advise the Committee so we can say thanks.)
  • Please get permission from the owners of the front ranch to park cars inside the front gate. Contact: Dean and Kelly Falkenberg (707) 431-1517 dktfalken@aol.com
  • Please park between the front gate and the second green-post and chain fence. This way the Owner can tell that you are a guest and not a trespasser.
  • Please drive slowly and carefully.
  • Guests:
  • Please advise guests that they are traveling over private property and that they should respect the privilege to do so. It is not appropriate to stop for sightseeing or personal relief on other's property.
  • Please advise your guests regarding Road Etiquette including basic driving methods for rural roads and basic courtesies.
  • Please ask guests to say Hello and readily identify themselves and who they are visiting when meeting someone on the road. (It's always nice when I encounter a stranger on the road and they tell me who they are without me having to ask.)
  • Please advise all of your guests regarding the importance of locking the gate. It is your responsibility to ensure that your guests understand how to operate the gate.
  • Please advise guests not to litter the area around the gates. (I pick up trash there almost every time I enter. This is not road trash but it came from people using the gate.)
  • Please advise guests to assist with Road maintenance by removing rocks or trees that are in the path of travel should they encounter them.

Gate Locking Rationale:

When we cross the lands of others, those owners have every right to ask us to keep gates locked. Both the front gate and the second gate are located on lands that are not part of the Road Association. Each of these owners has requested that the gates remain locked at all times. This is not a matter for debate among the Road Association; it is a simple fact of life out here in the country.

Additionally, many members of the road association prefer to have both the gates locked as a means to further ensure that strangers do not inadvertently (or otherwise) wander back into the ranch.

For those who do keep the gate locked, the road clean and always have a smile when passing, thanks from the Committee and from the owners at the front ranches.


Ranch Mailbox wranch@dtbarch.com

Ranch Website "http://www.wickershamranch.com"

Thanks to Tami Bobb for her efforts in sharing space on her personal ranch site for our benefit.