If you’ve experienced a sense of deja vu as you traverse the $4.5 million roundabout on the Columbia County side of the Rip Van Winkle Bridge, you’re probably not alone.
State Department of Transportation crews and equipment reappeared Monday, as the electronic signs promised, to do some night work on the roundabout. We thought it was to complete a punch list of minor tasks still to be done on the project, which looked finished to our inexperienced eyes.
We were wrong. The roundabout opened last October, but now, less than one year later, the blacktop had to be excavated, replaced and repaved. It meant another round of bumps, milled pavement and driving our cars over some pretty rough road.
Seeing the roundabout getting a rebuild so soon after it was completed is troubling. It suggests problems and weaknesses nobody could see coming last summer.
State DOT spokesman Joseph Morrissey said the project was completed to the specifics laid out in the original construction plans.
“The project that included the roundabout was constructed last year on time and under budget,” Morrissey said Wednesday.
“Asphalt pavement was placed in accordance with contract specifications. The schedule was clearly outlined in pre-bid documents and was not accelerated,” Morrissey said.
But here’s the kicker: “Portions of the project need to be repaved this week to correct some imperfections.”
Imperfections indeed, if almost the entire roundabout had to be torn out and replaced.
On the bright side, the new roundabout is expected to be completed by the end of the week and this project will be done at no cost to taxpayers. Somewhere along the line, errors of some kind were committed to create those imperfections. Credit DOT for accepting the responsibility. So the next time you navigate the freshly minted second roundabout, think of it as a free ride.