To the Editor:
I’d like to address the accusatory tone of last week’s article on the Oyster Creek project. (Belvedere Rd. project delayed by rain and vandals,” Page 1)
It’s nice that people are giving Mr. Luce encouragement and are bringing him coffee and donuts. It’s always nice to do someone a kindness when they’re having a hard time, and he is clearly having difficulties. To imply in the article that the difficulties are the fault of a person who is not responsible for the project is irresponsible and strikes me as diversionary.
As a resident of the creek and sister to the person who Mr. Luce and Mr. Gelarden seem to be targeting as “The Problem,” I need to respond.
Amateur, irate, and idiot (or stronger terms), words that Mr. Gelarden chose to use in his article, are words that could be bandied around about many parties in regards to this project, depending on one’s point of view. Instead of encouraging mudslinging, Mr. Gelarden could have employed real journalism, which would involve unbiased and respectful reporting as well as investigating all the interesting peculiarities of this project.
I called the project engineer to inquire about Mr. Luce’s qualifications for working with a tidal project. I was told that the only qualifications for the job were a low bid, an excavator and to be bonded. I was also told that tidal elevations were never taken by the engineer of the project and so the construction plans, $400,000 worth, were based only on assumptions that turned out to be incorrect.
When asked why the DOT didn’t take into account that it might rain, Mr. Palmer, the project engineer said, “We can’t control Mother Nature”. It seems to me that here in Maine, one should prepare for her however.
I spoke to Project Manager, Devon Anderson, who admitted that mistakes had been made on the part of the DOT. He also said that the call to the DOT and the DMR should definitely have been made regarding the overheating of the creek and damage to the marine life, and that it’s part of the DOT’s job to make sure the environment is protected during a job, as well as to make sure the project is structurally sound. That was good to hear.
Like Mr. Luce “I just shake my head” whenever I see the DOT bumbling their way through each project that comes up in this area. This is the fourth project I can think of in the past few years that has seemed poorly conceived and well executed only after several failed attempts and their lack of action in Wiscasset is puzzling.
So, if you find yourself wondering why are they doing that in such an inefficient, expensive and irrational way, there are numbers to call to ask questions, express concerns, to raise hell if necessary, or to give encouragement if you like what they are doing.
The DOT Commissioner is David Cole. His phone number is 624-3000. One can also ask about specific jobs and speak to the person in charge. The DOT is a large and expensive, but not a very well oiled machine. I think it would be wise for the people of Maine to ask for some investigation as to how it is run. Perhaps then we won’t cringe every time we check yes on the ballot when they ask for more money for projects.
Irene Plummer, Damariscotta