Lane markings hadn’t yet appeared on a fresh section of Mira Mesa Boulevard Friday morning. But the road was hardly a blank canvas.

Red, yellow and white paint along the road had all the hallmarks of a contractor, from the squiggly lines to the hieroglyphic-like phrases, such as “T.S. Loop” and “High Priority 0411 for standby.” Three patches of spongy tar near the curb proved it. Someone had worked on this road after the city had fixed it.

City crews were out repairing the road a few weeks ago, said Edward Antonio, whose home overlooks the section of road between Carrington Drive and Aderman Avenue. The spray paint and tar patches happened afterward.

“That definitely happened a couple nights ago,” Antonio said, pointing at the fresh tar. “I remember people coming out here to do it.”

As the city of San Diego begins making 134 miles of major repairs to its dilapidated road system, a different issue faces the city: How to keep utility contractors and others from ripping up roads it just fixed.

A reader on Facebook pointed out the situation on Mira Mesa Boulevard last week. I took a look at the road, and then called Mario Sierra, who oversees the city’s Street Division.

Sierra said road work coordination always is a concern. But what happened in Mira Mesa, he said, was a good thing.

Sierra said the city had received numerous complaints about that section of the road. Some, he said, called it “a war zone.” The Street Division decided to patch up the road before it received a full resurfacing now scheduled for September.

Contractors should do their work now because they won’t be allowed after September’s repairs are complete, Sierra said. The city puts a three-year moratorium on digging up streets after major repairs, and a one-year moratorium following minor ones.

The system isn’t foolproof, Sierra said, especially with electricity, cable and even city water and wastewater crews all taking their turns at digging up city roads.

“Everyone is always beating up our streets,” Sierra said, “but we’re pretty good about coordinating the work.”

This issue hasn’t escaped the City Auditor’s Office, which is expected to address coordination of road repairs and utility work in a coming report on street maintenance.


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