Taking the scenic drive up Charles Street–with serious bottlenecking between Northern Parkway and Bellona–can make you feel like you’re living in the movie Groundhog Day, repeating the same Men-at-Work scene every single day lately. You’ve probably noticed that construction on this portion of the pretty road seems to be set on not-so-instant replay. We’ve been so frustrated, and flat out confused, by the current re-repaving of this road that we could have sworn got similarly repaved last June that we decided to call up Adrienne Barnes, spokesperson for the Baltimore City Department of Transportation. Barnes confirmed that this repave redo is not a product of our imaginations, but in fact fact: City engineers deemed the contractor M. Luis’ initial asphalt attempt “substandard” and unacceptable and required him to undertake the same repair operation again 100 percent free of charge.
M. Luis was legally obligated to fix the work without charging Baltimore or Maryland a penny, of course. Barnes explained further that funding for the company’s first botched job came from federal and local funds–while Sarbanes’ office clarified that no part of that spending is attached to a federal stimulus package. Said Ruxton road work (the sequel) began during the second week of October and will end the second week of November.
How often does it happen that a road undergoes two copycat construction processes, due to unsatisfactory outcome? “Very rarely,” Barnes said. Though it certainly does happen. On an action-movie scale, too. Case in point: In late October, crews began essential repairs to the supports of three bridges over the Intercounty Connector or ICC (which carries a price tag of $2.6 billion, incidentally). The parts designer agreed to accept full financial responsibility, but the public must accept déjà vu–inspiring delays due to lane closings. Consider it more time to think.