Does anyone wonder why after +$3 MILLION ($3,000,000) of work since 2005, there are "Loose Gravel" signs on the Castillo street Off Ramp?
This project at Castillo Street Undercrossing Highway 101 was bid at $2.4 MILLION dollars in 2005 to finally take care of the problematic groundwater leaking through the asphalt pavement. The first design failed, so it was redesigned and after many delays and a cost of about $3 MILLION dollars, the final product still failed. Within months it was being patched and repaired. In 2008 the loose gravel signs came out again as the pavement was unravelling with big, wet potholes.
The true cost may not be known. While Caltrans admits that in general 5% of work records "vanish", this job had many records disappear or not get submitted. The Senior Construction Engineer on this District 5 project, Alan Haag, signed off many $100,000's of extra work for the contractor, despite missing work bills, missing inspector reports, missing contractor hours and incomplete work information, including at least one $50,000 payment that was approved despite missing inspector reports even though an office worker caught the "error" and reminded Alan Haag, the Caltrans Senior Construction Engineer, of the discrepancy.
The Caltrans Structures Engineer wrote that the Caltrans Resident Engineer approved a concrete mix design that had missing data, and "issues that will significantly reduce the life of the joint seal" and "Unknown or different materials and details may result in maintenance problems in the future." Despite the problems, the job was not sent back to design and rebid, but the Technician, Robert Bonilla, continued to "redesign" the project with the Contractor, and the Structures Department stated in reports and correspondence that "if the contractor is delay or incurs additional cost, he'll have be compensated." (sic) and
"Concrete from several different suppliers has been used for the expansion joints and I've never approved any of these mix designs."
"I shared my concern about the lack of testing for the 5000 psi concrete with Charlie Hench and Alan Haag."
After the concrete pavement was completed,
water sprang up through the joints and even through cracks in the new concrete.
The concrete even failed skid testing and other testing, so in the end Caltrans placed an asphalt overlay on top of the failed project for additional cost, and it was "bought" by the District.
Therefore, for over $3 MILLION the taxpayers received a result WORSE than previous $100,000 asphalt overlays. Previous overlays were safer open-grade asphalt to reduce skidding, but due to the new concrete slab, this thin overlay was a slippery type, which promotes skidding. Even a Caltrans vehicle was reported skidding into the intersection during a red light.
Despite having no Engineering degree, the technician who helped redesign the project, Robert Bonilla, passed out business cards stating "Transportation Engineer" leading several local residents to believe that he was the supervisor of the real engineer.
Frequently the technician could not be found, and two years in a row Mr. Bonilla was discovered riding in the Fiesta Parade on a horse, while at least one of the times he was charging 8 hours for his shift, when he was reportedly directed to be paving asphalt. Below are photos of another instance when the technician actually filled potholes on the open Highway 101 with questionable material and questionable procedure- bags with Spanish writing, compacted by his boots and by live traffic. Moments later the material began unravelling almost immediately, with pieces hitting vehicles and at least one person.
The employee was also reported to offer construction materials for sale.
In private enterprise, such activity could result in someone getting fired or prosecuted. However this person, after he was reprimanded for destroying evidence after a motorist fatality, was nominated by his supervisor, Alan Haag, and won a safety award. The Supervisor supposedly also used State funds for the tech's Class A license, which he apparently uses for his personal construction business, while another employee who actually drove a large truck for State work was denied license reimbursement.
Although the technician was allowed to drive his State vehicle home to Santa Maria instead of leaving it at the Santa Barbara Yard, the technician's supervisor, Alan Haag, frequently stayed overnight at State per-diem expenses (see photo above) in a beachside hotel in Santa Barbara, so that he could run in the Wednesday Evening 5K races with free beer, and had several employees shuttle his personal vehicle on State Time to store it at the Santa Barbara Yard during his vacation. Haag later admitted notifying Bonilla near the end of the project not to leave Dom Perignon champagne and fine wine gifts on his desk, so the tech placed the alcohol in his drawer, as shown below.
The technician also reportedly boasted that he went to the 2005 St. Louis Cardinals World Series Baseball Game in Missouri with the President of the Contractor who built the project.
The high-school graduate technician also bought a Porche automobile and sometimes drove it to work, although he was assigned a State Truck which he also drove home.
One report stated that the technician and assistant actually performed rebar installation for the contractor (allowing it to be covered up by concrete faster), and approved many changes to the work, escalating the cost dramatically while many reports required to pay the "Change Orders" were "missing."
For years the Bridge Engineer Representative, Arvinderpal Singh Gill, assigned to the project would come to work 1 or 2 hours late on a daily basis, and was found to be transporting his child in the State vehicle, and frequently went jogging or disappeared in the afternoon.
A Resident Engineer on this project admitted to being a former (undocumented) alien restaurant worker. Although an engineering license is required to hold the RE position, another "Resident Engineer" at this Caltrans Construction Office in Santa Barbara during the project had no engineering license and had only a psychology degree. The highly-paid Deputy District Director of Construction admitted to having no 4-year degree, only a community college associates degree.
Now SBCAG is asking to spend more money to "study" how to spend the Measure A extra tax increase funds. Do you want Measure D to be repeated without accountability? ...or do you want to straighten out Caltrans before more money is wasted?
Please ask your local government officials why they allow this to continue.
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