County failing to properly re-pave Los Osos
November 8, 2013
OPINION By BARRY LE BEL
During the last year as the Los Osos wastewater project has moved forward, it has become apparent that there is a real problem with the quality of the re-paving throughout our community. While getting any adequate response from the county is all but impossible, citizens are left with little recourse when we feel we are being wronged by our own representatives.
We the land owners in Los Osos are not only paying their wages, we are paying for every penny of the substandard work that they are either allowing or mandating done; I choose the later.
If this work was not acceptable to inspectors hired by the county, at least one being a former Wallace Group employee with his own company now, it would not be authorized to begin with or would be torn out and done over. With work being authorized and done against county standards the contractor is effectively being released of future liability for any new pavement failure.
This could mean that the future repairs might fall on the people of San Luis Obispo County as a whole; not just Los Osos. Why would the county need to spend our money hiring outside inspectors to inspect and approve work that is not to standard? Why even inspect to begin with?
Streets are marked by these inspectors as to what pavement to take out and what to leave. It is a fact that many blocks have been left with degraded pavement with jagged edges causing new pavement to meet with broken pieces of pavement 1-2” thick over sand or very little base. The new pavement is specked out at 3” thick with 6” of crushed granite base. Where these dissimilar edges meet, we are left with gaps so water will run right into and under both new and old pavement and our driveway approaches causing failure.
The bid package from CDM Smith is specific on how these patches are to be made.
“All pavement cuts shall be neat and straight to provide an unfractured and level pavement joint for bonding existing surfacing with pavement replacement. Pavement cuts shall be parallel or at right angles to the road or area centerlines. All cut edges shall provide clean, solid, vertical faces free from all loose material.”
This is a problem in Los Osos where many of our streets have been left in disrepair by the county for more than 20 years with only potholes being filled in a substandard way. Since the condition of the streets was no secret, I am left to wonder what the reason is for paving in this manner. It was obvious that many streets would need to be repaved entirely from side to side.
With heavy equipment driving over our streets, in many instances nothing adequate was left to patch to. If public works couldn’t figure that out before bids were taken on this project, there is something wrong. It isn’t rocket science. Maybe they just thought they could get away with it? After all it’s just Los Osos, the home of the vocal minority; right?
We the citizens of Los Osos are being harmed financially once again by the powers that be. I don’t remember authorizing our paid employees or our paid elected officials to do substandard work on this hugely expensive project so that we will be left with streets that are falling apart with no recourse on the contractor because the county is having them take shortcuts.
I realize that many of our streets are to have top treatments after this patching is complete. This is no answer as to why the patching itself does not meet county codes. Top treatments will just be throwing more of our money away on substandard work. If the road itself is substandard, no amount of top work will fix it.
As citizens, we are all expected to follow the rules the county imposes on us at all times. My question is why would we or should we follow any of their rules ever again when we are being taken advantage of in this way and they are not following their own rules. Aren’t rules supposedly put in place to protect us from harm?
Who is left to pay for the results of all of the shoddy workmanship on these streets? I think I’ll take a guess at that one myself.
Once again, the property owners of the community of Los Osos are left to pay and possibly others in the county, not the petty officials that we are paying to represent us. To all of the officials in the SanLuis Obispo County, I think you forget who feeds you. We pay your hefty wages. It is your responsibility to protect us when spending our money. All of us that own property in Los Osos and drive our streets daily will be very aware of your wrong doing for years to come if you don’t step up and fix this mess.
Oh and you say the money’s gone? Whose poor planning is that? Heads should roll for this. What was that? Just do as I say? I don’t think so.