VENTURA : Striking Union Gives OK to Repaving Road

An asphalt workers strike has delayed completion of the $3.6-million renovation in downtown Ventura, but city officials said Wednesday that repaving work on California Street will be completed by Friday.

A strike by members of the Operating Engineers Local No. 12 has prevented contractors from repaving the three-block stretch of road that cuts through downtown.

But because the Ventura County Fair parade is scheduled to traverse downtown Saturday, union leaders gave contractors permission to purchase asphalt from a non-union company, city officials said.

“The company doing the work is a union contractor,” said Patrick Richardson, a senior planner who has supervised the renovation. “They have talked with the union and they were given the OK to go ahead.”


Workers from Berry General Engineering, the general contractor for the multimillion-dollar project, had dug up most of California Street in preparation for the new asphalt.

But the 3-week-old strike put the project on hold indefinitely.

City recreation officials staged an art walk and open house July 29, which drew thousands of visitors despite the bumpy road. Local artists painted a section of California Street with a colorful sea mural.

Since then, however, the road has been worn down.


“There’s been a lot of damage in the past two weeks,” Richardson said. “Potholes have gotten a lot bigger, and it’s just a real mess down there. It needs to be paved.”

Downtown merchants expressed relief that the work is finally nearing an end.

“I’m really excited,” said Beth Keenen, who owns Cafe Bella on California Street. “I lost a lot of morning business because people never know whether they could park or not. But now I think it will be great.”