Scott Contracting workers pour concrete Tuesday at Seventh Street and Lincoln Avenue.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Scott Contracting workers pour concrete Tuesday at Seventh Street and Lincoln Avenue.

Downtown Steamboat construction progress questioned

Sen. Al White to join discussion about project's pace at council meeting Tuesday

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Bid numbers

Information about repaving project bids is on the CDOT website, www.dot.state.co.us/. From the “Business with CDOT” pulldown menu, select “Project Bidding and Related,” then “Recent Project Bid Tabulations.” Scroll to the bottom of the ensuing page and, in “Bid Tabulation Archives,” select “2009.” At the Aug. 13 bid by Scott Contracting for U.S. 40 work, click “Tabulation of Bids.”

Contractor — Total bid — Percent of low bid — Percent of estimate

(all dollar figures in millions, rounded to nearest $10,000)

CDOT estimate — $6.57 — 116 — 100

Scott Contracting — $5.65 — 100 — 86

New Design Construction Co. — $6.09 — 108 — 93

Lawson Construction Co. — $6.33 — 112 — 96

Duckels Construction Inc. — $6.89 — 122 — 105

Concrete Works of Colorado Inc. — $6.96 — 123 — 106

Connell Resources Inc. — $7.34 — 130 — 112

Source: Colorado Department of Transportation

Paving information

For daily updates on the U.S. Highway 40 construction project, call 970-819-7008. To sign up for e-mail updates on the project, visit www.coloradodot.info and click on the “Sign up for E-mail and Wireless Alerts” link in the upper right corner. Enter an e-mail address, select the appropriate updates and click “Submit.” For more information, visit the project website at www.coloradodot.info/projects/us40steamboat.

— Scott Contracting bid about $900,000 less than the Colora­do Department of Transporta­tion’s estimate for the downtown repaving project, which is scheduled to close the Third Street intersection today while opening intersections at Seventh and 11th streets.

Scott’s bid of about $5.65 million was about $400,000 less than the next lowest bid, a proposal of about $6.1 million by New Design Construction Co., of Denver. Scott’s bid to the Colorado Department of Trans­portation for the downtown Steamboat Springs repaving and improvement project along U.S. Highway 40 has come into question lately as the project has faced delays and fallen behind schedule this spring. Many of those delays have been attributed to the season’s wet weather, but concerns also have arisen about staffing, additional funding requests and unexpected costs.

Dave Eller, regional program engineer for CDOT, said Tues­day that Scott’s bid did not raise any red flags with CDOT, which is required to accept the lowest bid from a qualified contractor for publicly funded projects.

“We have a cost-estimating unit in Denver that evaluates bidding and contracts,” Eller said. “We’re bound by federal and state statute (to be) on a low-bid system.”

Eller said it’s not uncommon to see a low bid that’s “7 or 8 percent lower than the next bidder,” referring to the percentage of Scott’s and New Design’s bids compared with CDOT’s project estimate, which was about $6.57 million.

“I don’t recall that there was ever a concern raised by our cost-estimating unit,” Eller said about Scott’s bid.

Public concerns about the project, however, drove Steam­boat Springs City Council Presi­dent Cari Hermacinski to ask state Sen. Al White, R-Hayden, to attend Tuesday’s City Coun­cil meeting at Centennial Hall to help facilitate a discussion about the project’s pace and impacts on downtown businesses.

Hermacinski said that in conversations with downtown business owners, she has heard a great deal of frustration about a project many think is not playing out as advertised. Instead of the sectioned, few-blocks-at-a-time closures that business owners expected, intersections have been closed along nearly all of Lincoln Avenue for much of the past several weeks.

“What this local community has been told about this project for the past two years, when it’s in planning, hasn’t been what’s happening in execution,” Hermacinski said.

CDOT and Scott officials met with City Council last week, but Hermacinski said she was not satisfied with the discussion.

“I think we do need a political representative that they are accountable to, to be there and hear what those concerns are and hear the answers to those questions,” she said.

White said he will attend Tuesday’s meeting. Eller said a CDOT representative, likely he or engineer Dave Sch­nei­der, also will attend.

Eller said additional funding for the repaving project could reach half a million dollars.

“We had about $500,000 set aside for what we call minor contract revisions or change orders … and I expect that we’re going to use that money,” Eller said. “It’s not uncommon to have some money in a project of that magnitude to account for those kind of things.”

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, city Public Works Director Philo Shelton will present an overtime proposal to City Council. Shelton said the city would pay Scott for three days worth of overtime, in exchange for no work occurring Sept. 1 to 3, the three days leading up to Labor Day weekend.

“We’d pay those three days in overtime right now, and in exchange for doing that, (Scott) would not work those three days,” Shelton said. “My recommendation is just not to start before Labor Day, because it’s a big event weekend for the city.”

Neither Shelton nor Scott Contracting project information manager Jody Patten had a cost estimate for the overtime proposal Tuesday.

Crosstown traffic

Patten said downtown drivers will see a change in traffic patterns today.

“We’re closing Third (today), we are reopening Seventh, and we are reopening 11th, too,” Patten said.

Patten said completing work at Third Street will be Scott’s top priority in coming days, but paving at the intersection won’t occur until Tuesday night, at the earliest, because of significant excavation work.

Eller said CDOT will not sacrifice quality for speed on a project that has a 30-year design life.

“I think right now our No. 1 concern is that with all the things that have been stacked against us … we want to assure quality,” he said. “We’re confident to this point that we are getting good, quality work.”

Fox Construction’s Tom Fox, who has worked in the industry for 30 years in the Yampa Valley, agreed with that assessment.

“Weather has really been bad. It’s hurt the construction industry,” Fox said. “It seems like they’re doing their best. … It appears that the quality of their work, especially the concrete work, really looks good.”

Work will resume in the fall after stopping June 30. Scott Contracting will face daily fines if work is not complete by Nov. 12.

Justin Kuhn, CDOT project engineer, told City Council last week that crews are “fairly confident” of completing the project in the fall.

Patten said Tuesday that the recent good weather has the project moving along well.

“No reason to think we won’t finish Nov. 12 — none at all,” Patten said.

Comments

Scott Wedel 3 years, 10 months ago

I think specific questions need to be answered: 1) What is the fewest number of good construction weather days for the past 10 years for Sep 1 to Nov 12? 1A) How many days of construction will be left for Fall? 1B) Are we at risk that a poor weather year that has recently happened would cause construction to not be completed?

2) Why aren't the sidewalks being completed shortly after the road is paved?

3) What is the plan/schedule for each block to completely finish work for that block on that side of the street?

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addlip2U 3 years, 10 months ago

Few observations: If the second lowest bidder was about $400,000 where was the difference in the bid.
Has Scott performed on projects for CDOT in a similar fashion as in Steamboat? Clearly, there are unexpected over runs and contingencies built into a project ...but TEN percent over....... already?

If my understanding is that Scott does not have contract with the City than Scott is not accountable to the City. Why is the City of Steamboat entering into a contract with Scott to pay for overtime to do specifically WHAT in September? At a specific time? And is that "work" going to conflict with the performance specs that are contracted to do with CDOT and perhaps dissolve some of the performance obligation/void warranty, etc. to CDOT and be essentially paid for the same work by two parties? What a DEAL!
And what if the weather is not conducive to perform that work?

City should not meddle with a project that is not their responsibility and definitely not be paying for it. For Scott to accept payment would be considered rather unethical.

How much is City going to spend on legal consultation on this issue?

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1999 3 years, 10 months ago

so scott will be getting paid twice for the same work?

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S_G30 3 years, 10 months ago

If you are going to close 3rd street after it was the only access for the past month, you may want to make more than 1 announcement. I would hate to be driving dowtown from the east this morning. It is going to be a mess. There should be signs everywhere. I went through, thank god, at 6:30 this morning and there was 4 cars making "U" turns in the middle of third street. What a mess.

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freerider 3 years, 10 months ago

In my 40 years here I've never seen a construction project finish on time or on budget . So duh ....why should this be any different ?? The weather is always a factor in Routt county , looks like they are doing a good job so far .

I gotta go with you on this one George , when this is finished and it's beautiful this story will be over and the trolls on this board will have to whine and moan and complain about something else.

My only complaint about this project is with the State police , they have been setting people up for traffic violations for making illegal turns when they should be out there helping direct the traffic instead of setting up traps to issue tickets in a construction zone so they can double your fines , Pathetic use of police , typical mafia style tactics to take your money shame on you in this bad economy.

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Matthew Stoddard 3 years, 10 months ago

I also agree with George & freerider, except for the police part. I appreciate them all sharing duty with the traffic. I've have seen CSP, RCSO & SSPD all coordinating traffic, depending on the time & day. Anyone who is ignoring them or the sign should be ticketed. That kind of stuff only makes it take longer for the rest of us.

I am definitely against the OT pay from the City, but I can understand the motivation. We all want this over but it hasn't impacted me too much. Maybe adding 5 extra minutes each way thru town for me, at least. I think I can handle that.

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SteamboatGirl10 3 years, 10 months ago

Scott would not be getting paid twice in this proposal. CDOT hired them to do this work for $5.65 million and that is what they will build it for. The City of Steamboat is asking them to delay the start of their project to September 6th (From their contract start date of September 1st) as a sort of favor. In order to compensate Scott for doing this, the city is proposing to pay them the overtime (That CDOT will not pay them) in order to make up for the time they would lose by starting the project late. In other words Scott would be working longer days and weekends in order to make sure that we have no construction during the Holiday weekend. The "overtime" money would be recouped by our businesses via tourism money. I would imagine the revenue that we could bring in would exceed the "overtime" we are paying them and all of that money would go to the struggling business owners.

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dave reynolds 3 years, 10 months ago

so why shouldn't people get a ticket when they break the law? weather in a construction zone or not people are used to getting away with it now they are being held accountable nothing wrong with that

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Duke_bets 3 years, 10 months ago

George - That was the best post I've read in a while and was spot on. Cari seems to say what is wanted to be heard.

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Matthew Stoddard 3 years, 10 months ago

Cari...Kerry..."I voted for it before I voted against it..."

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jk 3 years, 10 months ago

So I am still fuzzy as to who had the final say on this whole thing? We knew we wanted the construction finished by July 1 so we could have our parade, but nobody thought about keeping it clear past Labor Day Weekend?? So now for that lack of foresight we will pay extra?? Just trying to get my facts straight here. Can someone please help me and explain who's brilliant idea this was?

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 10 months ago

George, The plan seemed reasonable to most people so there was minimal input during planning complaining about issues.

The big problem now is that the execution of the plan appears to bear little resemblance to the plan.

How many times were we told about rolling closures? That certainly gave the impression that the plan was to have a several blocks under construction at once. In reality, there is no block that is yet completed because they still have curbs and sidewalks to complete.

And the plan of not closing 3rd until they had opened 7th in the context of rolling enclosures should have meant that construction from 7th to 12th was COMPLETE before closing 3rd.

If this was always the plan then CDOT and Scott Construction did a disastrous job of communicating the plan. They should never have mentioned rolling closures and should have described entire street under construction with access at 7th when the slab was poured.

It was also stated that Fall was available for finishing. That was always mentioned in the context of left over work. At their rate of progress and how weather shuts them down completely, there has to be real doubts whether they will finish this fall.

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Fred Duckels 3 years, 10 months ago

This job was bid to present a small footprint but the mainline has been pursued far beyond the other work, resulting in shutting the town down. If the backdoor is not kept up the mainline should not proceed. This is very disrespectful and the authorities that allowed this debacle need to regroup.

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weststmbtres 3 years, 10 months ago

Philo has proven he does not tell the truth when quoted in the paper. Philo was quoted last year saying the city was not physically doing anything to remove the thermoplastic crosswalk material that we wasted thousands of dollars and man hours installing and then removing. He said all they were doing was cleaning up scraps that had come loose. The fact of the matter was they city employees were out with tools peeling/scraping/grinding the stuff off the pavement on the very day Philo's statement was published in the paper.

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 10 months ago

George, I'm sure they have an excuse why they didn't pay attention to the block by block plan. But it is not all obvious to me why focusing on the slab prevents the curb and sidewalk crew. It'd seem to me that one is heavy equipment and the other is largely manual labor. It seems more likely that it was always their plan to bring in the manual labor and have them do it all at once.

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weststmbtres 3 years, 10 months ago

I heard rumblings from the manager at one downtown business who said the Scott workers were getting paid even when they were sitting at home on the front range on the rainy/snowy days becasue they were members of a labor union. He said thats why there was overtime issues even on weeks when no work was being done. I find that a bit hard to believe.

First, I have no idea if there is any truth to the statement. If someone could verify that to be true or false we could put this argument to rest.

Secondly, If there is any validity to the statement I think it would help in the decision of whether or not the City should pay their overtime.

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SteamboatGirl10 3 years, 10 months ago

Scott -

I have been wondering the same thing about the curb and sidewalk, so I did a little digging and this is what I found out. The concrete pours for the main road happen as soon as it is possible. It seems that Scott does not want to risk waiting to pour a new section of road, if they can, because the weather would mess up the dirt that they put underneath the concrete road and all their previous work would be messed up and it would severely delay the project. So if the next section of the main road is ready they stop what they are doing and get it poured.They need a minimum of 5 days before they can drive on the fresh concrete, so they cant do the fill in sidewalks and curb until they can get a concrete truck on it and if the next secton of road is ready for concrete, then they do that part first.So weather is still playing a major factor in how they are able to do things. I dont really understand the exact mechanics of road paving, but this is what I got out of it. Hope that helps :).

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SteamboatGirl10 3 years, 10 months ago

Also... I looked up the original bid set (It is public record) and I cant resist a good research project :).

The work was proposed to be done in 6 phases, that would overlap. The way they are completing the work is almost the exact order that got approved by both CDOT and the City. I think we may have been misinformed about these supposed rolling closures.

Look at the magnitude of this project if they cut it down any smaller they would be back next spring and I know I am looking forward to this all being over by Nov 12th at the latest. Lets cross our fingers and hope it is sooner!!!

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mtroach 3 years, 10 months ago

While we are all complaining about the progress, let's look at the restrictions placed on Scott and the extra work they'll do to finish before the projet is done, remove their tooling and come back in the fall as one of the reasons this will be taking soo long. If I'm looking at the project right, scott is filling the middle of the road with asphalt, to join the concrete to the old road, which they will then tear out to install the new road. That's a lot of wasted time, effort, and materials that If we let them progress through the summer could be used to finish the project that much sooner. Now i read that this weekend is a no work weekend for Scott, that's three more days of progress removed from the schedule at OUR request. But next weekend they'll be working during the Sboat Marathon? or is that removed as well?

I guess my point is that we can't have it both ways, either they are working and in the way or progress is delayed. If all they have in fall is sept6 to nov 12, that's 60+ someodd days depending on when we let them start back up? (Snow is usually here oct 31) I would rather Scott keep working, put those 60+ days in now and try to finish by the end of aug and go home for good. The longer we string out this project the bigger headache it becomes for everyone. Rip the Band-aid right off. If nessary provide assistance to downtown busineses to stay afloat and let's get our town back from C-DOT.

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runnerbikerdriver44 3 years, 10 months ago

freerider-"they have been setting people up for traffic violations for making illegal turns when they should be out there helping direct the traffic instead of setting up traps to issue tickets in a construction zone so they can double your fines , Pathetic use of police , typical mafia style tactics to take your money shame on you in this bad economy."

Are you serious? You're mad that you got busted for doing something illegal, and are chalking it up to a trap set by state patrol? How about this-don't do something illegal, and you won't get a ticket! I know, I know. It's a radical thought. Plan ahead so you don't have to make an illegal turn, and you won't get a ticket. Shocking.

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John Fielding 3 years, 10 months ago

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"Don't do something illegal".

Seems like good advise, but when the laws become all pervading, cradle to grave, one size fits all preprogramming they no longer deserve the respect we once held for them.

It is expressed concisely by the final verse of this poem:

THE MANDATE

Proudly did we launch this Ship of State
And set her course by never brighter star
That ever man had seen; and for her freight,
Our hope that human freedom might endure;
And none may guide this ship but by this star.

Proud too we were, of our equal estate;
None less or better by another right
Than his capacity and will; and great,
Or petty by no other kind of might;
And we shall choose our leaders by this light.

All gathered here have sought to find a place
Where toil may have its just reward; where need
Transforms to strength and not disgrace,
Through opportunity, unmarred by greed;
And this must be sustained by all who lead.

We vowed, as we embarked, to sail in peace;
We would not mark our course in history
With war, and pillage; but would seek release
Of human hope for better destiny:
Who leads us into war risks infamy.

These are our truths, self-evident; our creed.
These are Democracy and its domain;
Who serves these ends are those whom we shall heed,
So long as trust and confidence remain.
Who leads not to these ends we shall disdain.

In stormy seas and calm, these many years
We have sailed by this star in freedom's cause;
With crews and captains chosen from our peers,
With power by consent to make our laws
By this mandate; which has this final clause:

Love held in trust grows cold and turns to hate
When those we offer greatness, prove not great.

R. Kent Fielding 3/12/74

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runnerbikerdriver44 3 years, 10 months ago

Okay Mr. Fielding, I guess you're going to have to clear this one up for me. I do not like the fact that cops in this town will pull you over for some b.s. reason late at night to see if you're drunk (I once got pulled over for at 1 am, completely sober, because the officer said a sticker was blocking one of my three break lights). That is what I would call abuse of power. I could see if freerider made a left turn when there was not a "no left turn" sign posted and received a ticket, he justifiably would be upset. But there are signs posted! Stop living in this "big baddie" society where everyone is out to get you. These police officers are doing their jobs, and trying to keep people safe. They had places where you could turn left, and just because they are not on the exact corner where you wanted to turn does not make this the end of the world. Too many people are willing to point fingers and be mad instead of stepping back and saying, "Oh, you know what? I did something illegal, and now I need to accept responsibility for it." It's called being an adult, and owning up to our mistakes. Stop making excuses for someone who is clearly over the age of 9.

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John Fielding 3 years, 10 months ago

rbd44

I agree with you, police should do their best to administer the laws that protect us from others. To a much lesser extent they should help protect us from ourselves.

But you will not have to look deeply into the law books of any town, state or nation to find laws that are made to try to protect special interests over those of the general public, to suppress behaviors that are not in conformance with the norm, or to promote a system of spiritual beliefs.

Laws of this sort are often enforced more selectively than those that involve a real crime, hence becoming tools of discrimination. It is this which degrades respect for the Law.

I too have often been investigated by the police for their assurance that I was not committing a Crime. When that concern was satisfied I have sometimes been politely informed that I ought to get my cracked windshield replaced, or some similar comment to advise me of the regulations I am afoul of that they do not intend to enforce at this time.

I appreciate their having stopped me to help their effort to prevent Crime, and thank them for their efforts. I also appreciate that they do not cite me for not being fully in compliance with every regulation they could think of, and express that as well, if appropriate. These guys are doing an important job for us, and some of them are my friends.

But I do not appreciate the overabundance of regulations for things that rightly ought to be personal decisions. Most states I have lived in force me to buy a new windshield every year, as I never can seem to avoid a crack that often. I often say how happy I am with Colorado laws that have allowed me to keep using a windshield until the thing actually wears out from sandblasting.

When enforcement of the Law becomes a matter of discretion because there are too many, and serious crime could be missed because of that fact, we have the potential for serious problems.

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John Fielding 3 years, 10 months ago

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I drove down the Connecticut turnpike yesterday. Permanent signs read speed limit 55. Average traffic speed was well over 70. Not one of those thousands of people was driving even as slow as 60, it would had endangered them and others to do so.

Later, on the Jersey Pike, the signs were electronic, able to be changed to reflect conditions. They read 65, average speed was near 80, and only one of the thousands of drivers I saw was near 65 mph. She was clearly terrified, riding her brake, bolt upright in her seat as cars sped by her on both sides. I felt sorry for her, but would not join in her compliance with the law as it would endanger myself and my daughter.

We discussed the obvious disregard for the law, and the obvious impropriety of this law. We agreed that to obey this law would be unwise and irresponsible at this time. We pondered what a better regulation would be. The best we could suggest is that the law should only state that driving in a manner that endangers safety or obstructs traffic should be forbidden, and trust in police and judges to administer that directive fairly.

Was the law wrong, or were the lawbreakers wrong? Every Jersey cop we saw had someone pulled over for ticketing, were they wrong to enforce it?

I don't claim to have the answer, but what we have is not working well as far as promoting respect for the law goes.

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John Fielding 3 years, 10 months ago

.

Just got ashore from a ride on the Chesapeake. It seems that on the water the laws of navigation are fewer and those are well respected. Can this be a model for other laws?

.

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runnerbikerdriver44 3 years, 10 months ago

Mr. Fielding-In some ways, I do have to agree with you. I think what you saw was an unfortunate example of what happens if we let people govern themselves and are not strict enough with law enforcement. If we were to let everyone make left turns during the construction other than where it is designated, it would be such a nightmare for everyone. I cannot stand when people are waiting to make an illegal left-hand turn downtown and impede traffic. Is your time that much more important than everyone else on the road today?

What I believe this comes down to is that driving is not a right; it is a privilege. I think if you choose break the law when it is clearly stated as being illegal, you should be punished. If I were to break the law and get a ticket, I would accept it. I would not accuse the police of using "typical mafia style tactics." I think what freerider did, as well as the people on the Connecticut parkway, was choose to break the law. It's a choice. And if we aren't willing to accept fault when we get caught, what does that say about the maturity of our society?

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John Fielding 3 years, 10 months ago

rbd44

I find that phrase interesting, "if we let the people govern themselves".

In our country it is supposed to be that way, of the people , for the people, by the people.

What is happening when 100% of the people are disobeying the law is voting with their feet. They are setting the speed limit by unspoken common consent, driving as fast as they feel is reasonable under the conditions.

But our representatives are not listening, because they know better than we what is good for us. And it is true, it is safer to go 55 than 70, if everyone is doing it.

But 100% of tens of thousands of people decided that 70 or 80 is safe enough for themselves and their loved ones, and that 55 or 65 was not as safe.

It was interesting too, to see that in New Jersey every 10 miles was an officer issuing a ticket, but in Maryland every 10 miles was an officer just watching them all speed by, none issuing tickets. I can only speculate that it was a reflection of their orders.

Should the law read that one is required to keep pace with the prevailing sense of the safe speed, and not endanger oneself and others by going too slow in compliance with the posted limit?

My father says the one who goes more slowly than traffic is not endangering, it is the other 99.99% who are endangering.

It has some real similarities to being in a heard of cattle. Try standing still and see who is endangering.

It will be good to get home again.

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John Fielding 3 years, 10 months ago

.

Sorry again, can't see my misspellings with tired eyes unless the're underlined in red. (matching my eyes after 450 miles of stampeding cattle)

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weststmbtres 3 years, 10 months ago

Since nobody would answer my question I did some digging and asked around. It would appear that Scott Contracting is not a union organization. A friend found an application that states they are an at will employer under no contractual obligation with the employee or other labor organization to keep any employee on the payroll for any reason. They can terminate your employment at will if they desire. I'm inclined to believe the person making the false claims that it was a union job probably has some preconceived political notions.

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sledneck 3 years, 10 months ago

J Fielding, The concept of self governance is, I fear, being lost. Thank you for supporting this endangered concept.

So RunnerBikerdriver44, No dis-respect intended but I must ask... Does your staunch support for the law, no matter how wise or foolish a law it is, extend to the illegals crossing our border? Should they be punished? Should the 15 million of them now here be punished or deported?

If the law wants respect then the law must be respectable. Stupid laws from stupid little would-be Napoleons should be ignored. Now, as I have said before, everybody get out there today and break some stupid laws... and let 'em see ya do it!

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John Fielding 3 years, 10 months ago

.

"Confirm Thy Soul in Self Control, Thy Liberty In Law"

Katharine Lee Bates, 1893

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