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Curb changes wasteful at best

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Our politicians speak eloquently about eliminating or reducing the spending problem by cutting waste and corruption. But they do nothing. A cogent example is the curb reconstruction in south Auburn. The project consists of removing and replacing about two cubic yards of perfectly good concrete on each of 19 pedestrian ramps in order to install 3-by-4-foot plates, each of which has 588 one-inch bumps. These are purported to assist handicapped persons on corners that already have handicap ramps. The cost of the project is $46,600 — $3,400 for each ramp. The contract, for work which apparently could have easily been performed by another contractor, was awarded on a non-competitive change order to a $425,839.25 contract, 15 percent of the contract. A non-competitive change order rounded to $1,000 for a competitive contract costed to the last 25 cents is very suspicious. Not only does this project probably have an unfavorable cost-benefit ratio, but the negative effects of the fortified ramps may outweigh any advantage because of the danger to bicyclists and skateboarders. I have been informed by engineering personnel in the transportation industry that the plates, even with their dimples, are slippery when wet. If 17 of the reconstructed ramps are a bureaucratic boondoggle and foolishness, the two at the intersection of Auburn Folsom Road and Sunrise Ridge Circle, one at the southeast corner the other at the southwest corner, are shameless lunacy. Sunrise Ridge Circle does not extend west of Auburn Folsom Road, so no ramp is needed to cross Auburn Folsom Road at this intersection. Owing to misallocation of mitigation funds for sidewalks along the road, walking along Auburn Folsom Road in this area is a challenge for the nimble, idiocy for the handicapped. DAN SOKOL, Auburn