Good news for one of the more provocative examples of San Diego’s broken infrastructure: Roof repairs on the city’s City Heights police station will begin in December, an engineering official estimated Wednesday.

The leaky roof is one of numerous roads, storm drains and facilities that have continued to decay even though the city borrowed $100 million to repair them 2 1/2 years ago. Here’s how we described the roof in our story detailing the city’s spending problems:

Before the rain comes, San Diego police officer Luis Roman takes out a makeshift plastic tarp.

Water soon will stream from the station’s roof at the Police Department’s City Heights station, and Roman needs the tarp to funnel rain into a 36-gallon trashcan. If not, it’ll drip onto the carpet in the division captain’s office.

“This place leaks like a sieve,” Roman said.

While Roman waits for the city to spend loan money on the roof, his do-it-yourself gutter can only do so much. Roman has had to staple and glue wallpaper back to the wall in the captain’s office because of water damage. The baseboards are peeling. During some storms, Roman has to empty the trashcan and put it back to collect more.

The new spending schedule for projects on the $100 million list came as part of a three-hour City Council committee hearing on improving San Diego’s sluggish road and infrastructure repair process.

Councilwoman Marti Emerald cornered city engineer Darren Greenhalgh outside the hearing to ask about the police station’s roof.

“It’s hugely important,” Emerald said. “It’s a health and safety issue.”

We’ll have more on the committee hearing today, but I wanted to update folks on the status of stalled projects we’ve identified in our coverage.

City officials are waiting to hear back from contractors on repairing elevators in six Balboa Park museums, theaters and historical buildings scheduled for fixes using the $100 million loan money, Greenhalgh said. Firefighters have had to rescue people trapped in the elevators 21 times over the last two years. One of those elevators, a 28-year-old one that serves the San Diego Model Railroad Museum, often overheats and is shut down on its busiest day each month.

Greenhalgh gave no timeframe for the elevator repairs. But the city is projecting it will spend almost 90 percent of the $100 million loan, including dollars pledged for the elevator fixes, by April.

Picador Boulevard, the cracked and potholed road in Otay Mesa whose repairs have languished, should see some relief soon, too. The road now appears on the city’s list of streets scheduled for repaving this month.

Liam Dillon is a news reporter for He covers San Diego City Hall, the 2012 mayor’s race and big building projects. What should he write about next?

Please contact him directly at or 619.550.5663.

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Liam Dillon was formerly a senior reporter and assistant editor for Voice of San Diego. He led VOSD’s investigations and wrote about how regular people...

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