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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 vuinspiring delays due to lane closings. Consider it more time to think.

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  1. Seriously! It took me 20+ minutes to drive from Roland to Charles on Lake because of the road work on Charles. And don’t you think if you screwed up the job the first time, you’d have a crew out there working 24/7 to get it right, instead of dragging it out for weeks and inconveniencing thousands of residents every day. Shame on M. Luis.

  2. Thank you for solving the mystery – I was sure it had to be due to somebody’s incompetence, but it is a relief that it isn’t our tax dollars being shelled out AGAIN. My blood pressure won’t shoot quite as high as I crawl through the bottle-neck four times a day…

  3. OH.MY. GOD…I had NO idea that Bill Murray was a reporter in Baltimore….
    Seriously though, I echo the relief that our tax dollars are only going to be spent once, but somehow I’m not surprised that it was incompetence on the first go-round that is requiring a second attempt. That appears to be how we roll.

  4. Thanks for investigative work on a situation that left many of us scratching our heads! Would love to know the story behind the “sidewalk to nowhere” that sits alongside the new bridge at Charles Street and the Beltway…

  5. Amen to the previous posters. I am not suprised by this as M. Luis is synonymous to other words such as incompetence, worthless and deceptive. I think their work speaks for itself and they should NO longer be afforded the opportunity to steal our hard earned tax dollars.

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