Now that the Contra Costa County Department of Public Works (DPW) crews have completed their work, visitors to Fernandez Ranch enjoy a smooth ride on Christie Road. Here’s to all those individuals, organizations and agencies that contributed to this long-awaited restoration work!
According to the late Ray Leal, Christie Road was first paved by a DPW contractor in 1959 and that, except for occasional applications of cutback, little had been done to maintain the road surface in the 60 years since. Of course, one major change in road use since 1959 was the opening of Fernandez Ranch.
As a concerned neighbor charged with providing good stewardship of their substation, Pacific Gas and Electric Company had already stepped-up to contribute $40,000 toward DPW’s estimated $100,000 cost to repair Christie Road.
But then, even more significantly, JMLT Board Member, Charles Lewis personally invited County Supervisor, Federal Glover to pay a visit and really experience the pot-holey condition of Christie road. Following that visit, Supervisor Glover called the first of what turned out to be several meetings with John Muir Land Trust and DPW management to discuss Christie Road.
At first, DPW explained that Christie Road was in such poor condition, it would be a waste of money to try to repair it. Federal did not accept this answer and requested DPW to come up with some road restoration plan. At the next meeting, DPW proposed to spend the $40,000 that PG&E had offered, but no more. Federal did not accept this answer either. Finally, DPW presented the plan that we all now gratefully experience – to repave the worst sections, bringing the entire road to a uniform level and then chip sealing. To their credit, DPW even contacted Caltrans to repave the last section connecting to Highway 4.
Now, thanks to everyone who contributed, we have a newly restored road. Thanks to PG&E for going the extra mile, to the late Ray Leal and An Marie Leal for providing the colorful history, to Public Works for accomplishing this important road work, and particularly to Supervisor Federal Glover who kept pushing until he was satisfied this project would fulfill the needs of his many, many constituents who visit Fernandez Ranch on a daily basis.
Christie Road Trivia
The East Bay-born rock band Greenday wrote the song Christie Road about this very stretch of asphalt that runs parallel to the railroad tracks in the city of Martinez, a sleepy little hamlet with a population around 35,000. Maybe you grew up in, or spent a summer kicking around, just such a town where there was nothing to do but hang out with your friends by the tracks. If so, then you know a comfort in that place. And while the song isn’t as much about the tracks on Christie Road as it is about the need to be alone, we all need that sometimes. And if you’re lucky, you have a special place where you can go to get your thoughts together, relax and be yourself – your own Christie Road.