BARSTOW Despite a large number of street repair projects that haven't been started, the Barstow City Council authorized city staff to plan for reconstructing a portion of Serrano Drive near the outlet center.

The Council voted 4-0-1 in favor of the Serrano Drive project at a special meeting Thursday. Councilmember Timothy Silva was absent.

In his presentation to the City Council, City Engineer Nick Nichols said the reconstruction of a portion of Serrano Drive next to the Chevron gas station will be done as part of the Lenwood Road improvement project. The project would involve pulverizing the existing asphalt, compacting the material and laying more asphalt it. The city would also build a cross-gutter to eliminate standing water, Nichols said. The project will not include the area south of Chevron because from there the public right-of-way ends, he said.

According to Nichols, the total cost of the project is $76,531. The money would come out of the Capital Outlay Fund, he said. The Capital Outlay Fund are funds not allocated for specific projects, said City Spokesman John Rader after the meeting. According to Rader, the Lenwood Road project is expected to begin within the next two to three weeks.

When Nichols took questions from the City Council at the meeting, Councilmember Tim Saenz asked if this project was taking precedence over other projects on the capital improvement project list, 11 of which were rolled over from the 2008-2009 budget. City Manager Richard Rowe said the Council had approved work for Outlet Center Drive as well as Lenwood Road, and Serrano Drive is one small element of those projects.

"This is the one remaining piece in the public right-of-way that is seriously deteriorating," he said.

The Lenwood Road project has been planned for more than six months, Rader said. Unlike projects on the capital improvement project list, which were included in the regular budget, the Lenwood Road project was deemed an emergency, according to Rader. There were public safety concerns because of the big truck rivets in the road, he said.

One of the reasons the Lenwood Road project has been put on hold for so long, Rader said, is because part of that area near the on- and off-ramps to Interstate 15 is a California Department of Transportation right of way. The city has to work with Caltrans in order to do the work in that area, he said.

At the meeting, Councilmember Willie Hailey Sr. wanted to know why a special meeting was called to approve this project. After the Council voted, Hailey said the condition of the road didn't happen overnight and the issue should have been brought up at a regular meeting.

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