Caltrans has given a construction company nearly $8 million to dismantle two bridges on busy Highway 58 over Cache Creek, just east of Sand Canyon. Two years ago, a structural appraisal was done on these bridges by Caltrans, and the bridges met a "better than present minimum criteria."

Even though the condition of the bridges over Cache Creek was good with a 7 out of 10 rating, with 10 being the best, why are these bridges being razed?

In the 1960s, I worked on many bridges like the bridges over Cache Creek, and these types of bridges are still being used extensively on freeways in Southern California. There are hairline cracks on the existing bridge deck that now moves traffic both ways on 58, but the hairline cracks on the existing bridge could be successfully sealed, saving us taxpayers a lot of highway money. The bridge piers, girders and abutments are solid as the day they were built!

Meanwhile, the pavement we actually drive on and bridge approaches from Sand Canyon to Cache Creek need serious work, and that $8 million bucks to replace these two bridges could be used as seed money to build a much-needed third truck lane on eastbound 58.

Removal of barrier railing over the railroad tracks that's now being done on 58 is another waste of highway money. One truck did break through the railing years ago and the truck driver was killed, but one accident in 50 years doesn't warrant the removal of a perfectly good bridge railing at a huge cost to us taxpayers.

Highways in California are owned and managed by the state with no oversight, which smacks of socialism. A month ago, I wrote a letter to Bob Franzoia, who is the director for Caltrans. I haven't heard a word from him and probably won't. We deserve better roads in this state.

Dennis Tope, Tehachapi