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Updated on Sunday ... 13-December-1998 ... 1640 PST

Red dot 2pt blank (13-December-1998)

Here is the FINAL INSTALLMENT on the street reconstruction project. I has been fun ...

Well, I took another BIG break from reporting. It has been 8 weeks since my last report. Progress has been very slow, but we are nearing the finish line. All of the street lights were finally "wired" about 5 weeks ago. The street is now very well lit at night. All of the concrete work now seem to be done. (They had to re-work a couple of areas, but all is looking good now.) The final work seems to be the finishing of all of the parking strips. Some have bricks, some have concrete, some have sod, and others just have plain dirt. Whatever you had when the project began, is what you will have when the project is complete. Here is a current picture of our house. If you look closely, you can see the fresh sod in our parking strip. Looking good!

I think it's a wrap. As I stated on our home page, many thanks to Paul Krukar, the City project inspector, Simeon Mercado, Jr., the City project engineer, and Frank Fiscalini, or City Council member, for their dedication to seeing this project through to completion. Thanks as well to the folks who replaced our sewer lines last year. Thanks to the crew from Pavex for the new asphalt. A BIG thanks to the guy with the BIG water truck, who did his best to keep the worst of the dust down to a minimum. Thanks to the concrete crew. The new street gutters and sidewalks are great. Thanks to the crews from PG&E who placed our new street lights. Thanks to the landscaping crew for their contribution. Nice job everybody. The street is looking good! See you again in another 70 years ...

Amber dot 2pt blank (02-October-1998)    Here is the latest information on the street reconstruction project:

I took a break from reporting on the reconstruction project for the last five weeks! I definitely got burned out on the whole process. When the asphalt went down, I think I shut down. There has been progress since the final lift went down, but it has been very  s  l  o  w. However, here is what happened in week fifteen!

This past week ... was a little different. It was discovered (belatedly) that the utility pole located between my southern neighbors' driveways (Cara & Marty and Lori & Bart) needed to be replaced. So, PG&E sent a very capable crew from the Cinnabar Service Center to set a new pole and move the services (including the street light) from the old pole. This conveniently places the new pole at the southern end of our driveway. Works for us! And by the way, these guys are good. Here are some pictures that document their excellent work ...

PG&E Team

(Click on the thumbnail photo to get a better look.)
  • 1 ... Mr. Armand Guerrero ... the team supervisor.
  • 2 ... Armand and ?? (I did not get his name) preparing the new pole.
  • 3 ... Going up!. They handled the pole like a toothpick. Amazing!
  • 4 ... Looking good. Please rotate the pole 90 degrees ...
  • 5 ... Ed heading up the new pole to secure the local service lines.
  • 6 ... Done! This professional crew made it look easy. Thanks guys!
  • To be honest, I should not be surprised. I was just discussing this with my Sister Sue, and she agrees ... EVERY interaction I have had with PG&E employees has been positive. I always felt they were ready to assist and all proved to be very competent at their jobs. Keep up the good work PG&E. Thanks for the new pole.

    There has been lots of tree trimming this week. This is all part of the street renewal project. Cement work continued as well. There were some areas that needed a "redo". I believe most of that work has now been completed.

    There are still some items to complete. Here are a few that come to mind ...

  • Complete finishing of parking strips. Some are done ... some are not.
  • Get power to all of the street lights. Many are in place, but are not "hot".
  • Get Pacific Bell to remove their services from the "old poles" and attached to the new poles. As soon as this is done, the old poles can be removed. Anyone listening here?

  • The week of September 21, 1998 ... we were on vacation. I have no idea what happened.

    Previously posted on our Home Page ...

    I am a little behind schedule on the Kotenberg updates. FYI, we are entering week thirteen. We had asphalt on Wednesday, August 26, 1998. After 63 days of dirt, the roadway was sealed. None too soon! By the evening of Monday, August 31, 1998, the "final lift" was completed. The rest of that week was taken up by installing lots of new street lights (although they have not be activated as of this date), doing the finish work around the many manhole covers, and completing work on the parking strips in front of everyone's home. Now if we can only get the city to agree to a 20 mile per hour speed limit on our street. (That would make me happier.)

    August 31, 1998   New ... we finally got some asphalt!
    Check out these pictures taken August 24, 25, 26 and 27, 1998.

    Dirt to Ashphat

    (Click on the thumbnail photo to get a better look.)
  • 1 ... 09/24 & 25: They dug up the dirt surface and sprayed "soapy water" (a wetting agent) on the roadway to get some moisture into the roadway.
  • 2 ... 09/24 & 25: Then they flattened it with the roller (it rolls and vibrates ... very annoying).
  • 3 ... 09/25 @ 1800: Before asphalt ... looking toward Minnesota Avenue
  • 4 ... 09/25 @ 1800: Before asphalt ... looking toward Willow Street
  • 5 ... 09/27 @ 0830: With asphalt ... looking toward Minnesota Avenue
  • 6 ... 09/27 @ 0830: With asphalt ... looking toward Willow Street
  • 7 ... The front of the house with the base lift. Look Mom, no dust!
  • This is where my brain stopped working. After so many days of dust and dirt and crazy drivers, we were returned to civilization. People still drive too darn fast down the street, but at least the dust is gone. Thank you Pavex.
    Amber dot 2pt blank (23-August-1998)

    I took a break from reporting on the reconstruction project last week. (I think I am getting a little burned out.) There have been numerous schedule changes over the last two weeks. No work has been done on the road surface. Bummer. This may change this coming week. But first, an update on the past two weeks ...

    The week of August 10, 1998 ... was taken up by installing driveway approaches and sidewalks on the other side of the street. The cement contractors put the driveway approaches in first, and then did the sidewalks. There were little or no changes in front of our house for the entire week.
    The week of August 17, 1998 ... we saw some action on our side of the street. On Tuesday they replaced the driveway section that was removed and put in our driveway conform. Here is a picture of the concrete team in action pouring our driveway. This photo shows the driveway after the rock for our exposed aggregate finish has been spread (its under that smooth surface for now). And here is a look at the final product.

    Updated   By Friday evening (August 21, 1998) our sidewalks were done. Click here to get a look at the front of our house on day 1, day 4, day 28 and day 62. We are almost there.

    A special note of thanks to Paul Krukar for making this happen as promised. Paul has done an great job keeping me informed of the day-to-day schedule and he has been an excellent listener. IMHO ... Paul has done an outstanding job for the City and for the residents of Kotenberg Avenue. Thanks Paul!
    This coming week (August 24, 1998) ... we have been notified that we will have no daytime access to the street until Friday, August 28, 1998. We may park on the street at night, but we will not have access to our driveways and we must be off the street by 0700 each day. The good news is (maybe ... we will see) that we will have an asphalt surface to drive on by Wednesday night.

    The surfacing process will take 3 steps. After the street is graded to the proper level, a base lift will be put down. A layer of asphalt right over the dirt. This will be followed by a leveling course. This will level out the lumps and bumps in the base lift. Finally, the final lift will be put down. I believe this will be the final road surface. It is still not clear to me whether this final lift will be done this coming week, or the beginning of the following week. Remember, this is the schedule, so we will have to see what happens ... when it happens.

    Amber dot 2pt blank (09-August-1998)

    Driveway removal

    As promised, Cara (our next door neighbor) dropped off the pictures of the driveway removal mentioned in the last report (see directly below). You can click on anyone of the individual pictures in the strip above to get a closer look. I hope the replacement work blends with the original. We will see. Thanks for the pictures Cara!

    The week was pretty quite around here ... until Friday. We received this letter from the general contractor. It provides us with a schedule for the remainder of the project. I am personally disappointed that the paving of the roadway has been pushed to the end of the project, but my understanding is that the concrete contractor has another big commitment in the near future, so the sidewalks and driveways will be first. The letter states that paving will start on, or after, Tuesday, August 18, 1998. The sooner the better.

    The Aparicio Company was at work at 0700 this past Friday, as promised. Note the new picture in the page banner ( click here or directly on the picture in the banner, for a better look). If you look closely at the lower right corner of the photo, you can see the curb and gutter being extruded from the machine. Very cool. Here is another view of the work in progress. The "golden finger" points to the guide and guide wire that the machine used to position the completed curb and gutter. (Directly below this spot, you can see the newly formed gutter and curb.)

    Behind the machine, that was continually fed by a series of cement trucks, was a crew of about 5 (maybe 4) finishers. this crew member was creating the "dip" for the driveway conforms. All done by hand. The rest of the crew were smoothing and scoring the finished curb and gutter. Pretty cool. The gentleman pictured, said that this was a relative small job. In new subdivisions, they put down up to 400 cubic yards of concrete in a day. Our street required a little over 100 cubic yards. Still, that's a lot of cement!

    We have been parking on the street since Thursday evening. We should have access to our driveways again on Monday evening. Some time within the next 10 days, we will be parking on the street again when the sidewalk, driveway conform and driveway are poured. I had a brief discussion with Simeon Mercado, Jr. (the City Project Engineer for our street project). He expressed his appreciation for the great attitude and considerable patience shown by the residents of Kotenberg. He also advised me that the work on the street lighting (5 new lights and some repositioning of existing lights) will occur towards the end of the project. More next week ...

    Amber dot 2pt blank (01-August-1998)

    Work continued this week (week number six). The most notable change was the removal of the section of our driveway that met the old sidewalk. As agreed, they removed the entire section back to the first expansion joint. Cara (our lovely and talented next door neighbor) snapped some pictures for me. I will post the picture(s) when they are available. In the meantime, here is what it looks like post removal. (That was about $500.00 worth of driveway.)

    This Friday (July 31th) I had a brief discussion with Paul Krukar (our City Project Inspector) about the progress of the work. Paul now believes that the actual pouring of the curbs and gutter may begin on Thursday, August 6, 1998. This will mark the beginning of no access to our driveways (we will all have to park in the street). If everything goes as planned, they will be putting the guide lines in place on Thursday, pour the gutter and curbs on Friday, and let the cement cure over the weekend. Shortly after this is completed, the first surface should be placed on the street. Finally, the end to the dusty, dirt roadway. I for one will be very happy when this finally occurs.

    If you are asking why they "missed" the August 3, 1998 estimate, they discovered that at least 7 gas lines on the street need to be buried a little deeper to avoid damage during the paving process. PG&E will be here on Monday and Tuesday performing that task. If I understand correctly, construction of the sidewalks and driveway approaches will follow. It looks like they should complete the project on time. Let's keep our fingers crossed.

    Amber dot 2pt blank (26-July-1998)

    Work continued this week (week number five), but changes were less obvious. Early in the week they marked the last section of our driveway for removal. I had been told by different people that it would not be removed and others said it would. Well, I guess that has finally been decided. The City representatives have promised that the replacement will match (as much as possible) the original, and that the materials used will match or exceed the original. I am keeping my fingers crossed.

    This Friday (July 24th) I had a brief discussion with Paul Krukar (he is the City's Project Inspector) about the progress of the work. Grading for the curbs and gutter will be the main focus of work in the coming week. Paul believes that the actual pouring of the curbs and gutter will not begin until the week of August 3, 1998. This will be the week we will lose access to our driveways for 2 or 3 days. The good news is that the laying of the new roadway should begin shortly after this work. I cannot wait for the dust to subside. Many folks are still driving too fast and creating large dust clouds that drift over our houses. So, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, please  s l o w  down.

    Amber dot 2pt blank (19-July-1998)

    Work preparing sidewalks and gutter consumed most of this week. This has been pretty exciting. As I mentioned last week, the water service needed to be lowered to allow for the new grade of our street. On Monday evening (July 13) we had a couple of "lakes" on the street. These were areas where the water main was broken by the road crew. I think the last Water Department truck left the scene at about 2100 (9:00 p.m.). The rest of the week went pretty smoothly.

    They are still leveling the roadbed. I believe they are just about as low as they intend to go. Check out this side-by-side-by-side photo of the house from the street. Note the pitch of the driveway approach ramp. Getting a little steeper, eh? If all goes well, we should be getting curbs and gutters by the week of July 27th. Did I say I am not enjoying the dust? Anyway, I am looking forward to our new street.

    Here are two hard working guys who are members of the Pavex team. They are very friendly guys and have always been willing to answer any questions I had. If these guys do not have the answer, they will refer you to Randy (sorry, I did not get Randy's last name). Randy supervises the crew and is a wealth of information. The whole team is very approachable, so if you have a question ... just ask.

    When I was talking with Randy last week, he mentioned that while reviewing this page, he noticed that the link I had to "the grinder" was the wrong model. I updated the link based on this information. You can find it under the 04-July-1998 report. Randy said he worked a job a while ago where there was a PR-1050 in action, and he said it was behemoth! Remembering how big the PR-500 was, with its single 8 cylinder diesel engine, the 2 - 12 cylinder diesel PR-1050 must truly be a monster. Thanks again to Randy for the input.

    Amber dot 2pt blank (12-July-1998)

    Work on the storm drain system continued this week. There have been no big changes in the appearance of the street. However, it is as dusty as ever. Please note the new photo in the banner at the top of the page. When driving down the street, take your neighbors into consideration and  s l o w  down . Thank you.

    This past Friday I had a brief discussion with Paul Krukar (the City's Project Inspector). He said that the project is proceeding well. However, there may be about a one week delay in putting down our new asphalt roadway. It turns out that the water service laterals are shallower than expected. In order to assure that the water service to our homes will not be compromised by compression of the roadway (normal phenomenon), plumbers will be brought in to lower the current laterals by up to 4 inches. This will add an estimated week to the necessary preparation required for laying down our new roadway. Keep your fingers crossed.

    Paul said he would check in with me at least once a week to provide a project update. I will pass this information on here ... so watch for the latest developments involving our street reconstruction project.

    OPINION For those of us who are a little tired of the dust, this may be a little disheartening, but I believe it is good the City and contractor are willing to endure our disappointment in order to do the job right the first time. The overall project is still on schedule for completion in mid-September.

    Amber dot 2pt blank (04-July-1998) 

    This week was more of the same. Removal of the gutters, curbs and sidewalks continued. This past Thursday I had a brief discussion with Jim Mitchell (the general project supervisor for Pavex). He said that we should be driving on asphalt again within 2 weeks. Imagine what it will be like to drive on a level and flat roadway. It won't be long now.

    Storm drain work and roadway grading will continue until approximately the end of next week. The next step will be to put the curbs and gutters in, followed by the new road surface. The last (and most time consuming) portion of the project will then begin ... the building of new sidewalks and driveway conforms. We are on schedule for a mid-September completion.

    What are all these guys looking at? They are looking at the storm drain pipe (follow the pointer to the pipe). I am not sure what they are doing with the storm drain, but they will be busy working on it for the next week. I will keep you posted.

      This is another example of why I believe the Internet is so cool ... Updated  17-July-1998 (Thanks Randy!)
    Hey! Remember that "grinder" that chewed up, and spit out, our old roadway? (See 23-June-1998 below.) Well, I have some more information on this amazing piece of equipment. Follow this link to the manufacturer's web site. This will provide you all the details on this incredible machine. (Like the fact that it can remove 86 inches of roadway, 12 inches deep at the rate of 150 feet per minute! There is more ... check it out.)

    Amber dot 2pt blank (28-June-1998)

    What a difference a week makes! For one thing, it is a lot dustier! Besides the dust, the street also looks different. Check out this " before and after" photo of the front of our house. If you look carefully, you can see that the surface level of the street has been lowered quite a bit. Can you see it?

    Not much happened around us on Wednesday, June 24, 1998. Our tree did get the promised trim, and it is now "in compliance".

    As you could see by the before and after photo mentioned above, Thursday, June 25, 1998 was a pretty busy day. They started removing the sidewalks, curbs and gutters. That guy operating the back hoe was pretty good. He gently removed major slabs of concrete from around plants and telephone poles with ease. Here is another view of the work in progress on Thursday morning.

    As you can imagine, things looked much different when we returned home on Thursday evening. Here are two more "before and after" photos for you. This first photo was taken while I was standing at the southeast end of our sidewalk looking northwest towards Willow Street. This second photo was taken while I was standing at the northwest end of our sidewalk looking southeast towards Minnesota Avenue. It is a little hard to see, but if you follow the line of my driveway in the second "after" photo, you can see the pile of cement that was our four year old, $2500.00 driveway conform. I sure hope the new one looks as good as the old one.

    Friday did not bring any changes on our end of the block. Currently there is only one crew removing the sidewalks, curbs and gutters, so I expect to see them coming down the other side of the street by the end of next week. Watch this page for further updates. Now, if you will indulge me, I would like to make an editorial ...

    OPINION IMHO (*) it sure would be nice if everyone using the street would  s l o w  down. A quick look in your rearview mirror will give you a clear picture if you are going too fast. (HINT: you will see large clouds of dust drifting over your neighbor's homes.) So, please  s l o w  down.     Thank you.

    (*)   In my humble opinion

    Amber dot 2pt blank (23-June-1998)

    Here is a view of the front of the house at 0745 PDT on Monday morning, June 22, 1998. Just as it has looked to us for the past 21 years. On Monday evening, there was just a subtle change. The tree in front of our house had a very bright green ribbon around the trunk. A little disconcerting.

    Well, the work really began this morning ...   Here is a view of the front of the house at 0745 PDT on Tuesday morning, June 23, 1998. There were 10 trucks positioned up and down the street. Something was about to happen.

    As Marilyn left, I talked to one of the work crew. He said the ribbon on the tree indicated that it needed to be trimmed up so that there would be 7 feet of clearance to the sidewalk. A city requirement. This was good news ... just a trim.

    I went back in the house to get ready for my departure. Soon there was a low din coming from out front. Soon it became louder. I went out and what did I see ... the grinder! Now this is one industrial strength machine. The name on the side is "ROTO-MILL ... Pavement Profiler". According to Paul Krukar, our on-site City Project Inspector for the Department of Public Works, this machine moves along at about a walking pace (approximately 3 miles-per-hour), grinding out a path of roadway 86 inches wide and an average of 8 inches deep! Amazing. That BIG boom on the front of the machine would literally spew the ground roadway into the bed of one of those BIG trucks. It took less than 3 minutes of grinding to completely fill one of those puppies. Take a look for yourself. Here is a close up picture of the working area of the "grinder". The number "one" is on our existing curb. The number "two" is 10 inches below in the area where the grinder has done its job. Wow!

    When we arrived home this evening, this is the view of our street ... looking to the southeast (towards Minnesota Avenue). The street level of the new roadway will be lower than the old roadway. I will try to find out exactly how much lower tomorrow. Mr. Grimaldi (or across the street neighbor for all these 21 years) said a member of the crew told him they would cut back 5 feet from the sidewalk into his driveway, and slope the new surface to the street. Let's watch and see how this project progresses.

    Amber dot 2pt blank (21-June-1998)

    Well, it looks like they are serious about starting this reconstruction of our street. As you can see from the page banner, the first notification signs are now up. (Click on the photo in the banner to get a better look.) Along with these barriers in the street, the folks from Pavex ("our contractor") left this note at our doorsteps. The note basically says the project will start on Monday, June 22, 1998, and is expected to be completed by September 1998. It also advises: "Although there may be delays at times, access to driveways and pedestrian access will be maintained throughout the project."

    Here is another look at the street, curb, sidewalk and driveway access in front of our house. I will add more pictures, so you can see how the work is progressing. Watch this page for the latest on the reconstruction project.

      Update:  Street reconstruction will now start 22-June-1998

    Amber dot 2pt blank (14-June-1998)

    First, let me say "Thanks!" to Jim Haughey and Rich McIntosh of the Public Works Department for their willingness to work with me in providing the latest information on our street reconstruction project.

    The start of the project has been delayed for at least a week. The city has specific contractual milestones that must be met before the project can proceed. I will keep you posted of any changes to this new target start date.

    I inquired about gardeners, garbage and other contractors some of us may have working for us.
    Jim Haughey responded:

    "Gardeners, along with garbage/recycle trucks, regular taxi service and other delivery/service vehicles, will all be subject to the same circumstances as residents--just less often."

    "Pavex ("our" contractor) is required to give 24 hours notice for any street closures. They are required to keep you informed of traffic conditions within the construction area AT ALL TIMES with appropriate warning and advisory signs. The street should be open to traffic on all weekends, holidays, and all non-working hours (night)."

    Based on this information, you may want to advise your "contractor(s)" of the work that will be happening over the next few months. This may help avoid any misunderstanding when you call to say the street will be closed the next day. Just a thought.

    In the first paragraph below (see (*) ), I stated that "As I understand it, Kotenberg is the oldest street in the City of San José ". Rich McIntosh points out that there are streets that are over 150 years old in San Jose. What I meant to say is that I believe Kotenberg has the oldest roadbed of any street in San Jose. (What do you say Rich?)

    Amber dot 2pt blank (30-May-1998)

    Welcome to the Kotenberg Avenue reconstruction project page. For those of you who are familiar with Kotenberg, I do not have to tell you that ... If you make one pass down the full length of the street, there is no guarantee you will have all of the parts attached to your car with which you started the journey. As I understand it, Kotenberg is the oldest street in the City of San José (*). I believe it was constructed in the 1920's. Well, that is all about to change. Thanks to a sustained four year campaign by our City Councilmember, Frank Fiscalini, the City is going to rebuild our street.

    This is pretty exciting news. Check out this picture of the curb in front of our house. It appears that at one time, that portion of the curb was a driveway conform. It must have been a real long time ago since our house was built in 1938.

    This is actually phase 2 of the reconstruction project. Our sanitary sewer lines (that's what they call them) were replaced last year. So, by the 3rd week of September 1998, we should have a brand new street. As a part of this project, the roadway will be narrowed by 2 feet (1 foot from either side of the street). This will hopefully slow traffic and still leave plenty of room for street parking. I believe 5 new street lights will be installed (I do not know the locations) and some existing lights may be relocated. The storm drains will be completed. There was some discussion of providing some street signs (a possible STOP sign at the corner of Longley and Kotenberg, and perhaps a "Children at Play" sign), however that is handled by "another city department". We will see.

    Your input requested ...

    Here is your chance to get involved with this project. Let me know if you have an experience you want to share with your neighbors. I will be happy to put your story on this page. Maybe you can save a neighbor a headache that you suffered. Or, perhaps you just want to let everyone know how happy you are with the results. Send me email me or leave me a voicemail message at ... (408) 974-6385.

    Stuff to know ...

    Working hours will be from 8:00 to 5:00 ... Monday thru Friday. Check with the contractor's representative (Jim Mitchell of Pavex Construction Company ... his phone number is listed below) to make arrangements for access to your property by anyone (gardeners or other contractors) working on your property. Planning ahead will help avoid some unexpected inconvenience for all involved.

    Other relevant information ...

  • Kotenberg Avenue will be open to local residents only
  • Access to driveways and sidewalk areas will be maintained
  • On-street parking will be maintained as much as possible, except at locations where the Contractor is directly working.
  • The time table ...

    Work is to begin on Updated Monday, June 22, 1998. There will be some tree trimming and one tree will be removed. Starting on Updated Tuesday, June 23, 1998 the removal of the existing roadway will begin. I believe the contractor said this would be a one day project. I cannot remember when the repaving will occur.

    The next phase of the project will be the "extrusion" of the new curbs (they have a BIG machine that does all the work). There will be a 2 day period during this part of the project where we will not be able to enter our driveways. The contractor has called for using "7 sack" concrete for the curbs. The benefit to us is a very strong curb that will setup very quickly.

    The sidewalks and driveway conforms will happen at the rate of about 4 houses a day. If you do the math, it looks like they should be able to meet their deadline for completion.

    My guesstimated completion date is Friday, September 18, 1998.

    Contact information ...
      Contact   Affiliation   Telephone number
      Jim Mitchell   Pavex Construction
      330 Blomquist Street
      Redwood City, CA 94063
      (650) 482-4000
      Jim Mitchell   Voice Mail ...

      (650) 482-4035
      Simeon Mercado, Jr.   City Project Engineer
      801 North First Street / Suite 300
      San Jose, CA 95110
      (408) 277-4638
      Paul Krukar   City Project Inspector
      (Will be at work site every day)
      (408) 858-4946
      Jim Foley   City of San José ... Public Works
      Simeon's and Paul's boss
      (408) 277-4638
      Frank Fiscalini   Councilmember
      City of San José
      (408) 277-5166

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    Home Page: www.garibaldi.org
    Created: 30-May-1998 / 1250 PDT
    Last update: 13-December-1998 / 1640 PST
    Update number: 018