DEAR SUN SPOTS: Once again a loyal reader is seeking to tap your resourcefulness. Earlier this year the job of revamping Hampshire Street in Auburn began. For a while it was a continuous project with little to no stoppage except for bad weather. However, once the west side of Union Street was finished, it seemed the work has ceased on the east side. I’m surprised by the lack of work being done despite the fact that the street is torn up and most of the sidewalks are now nonexistent. Also, it appears that most of the heavy equipment is no longer on site. You would think that with winter here the contractor would be going full throttle to get this project completed. I do understand that sometimes in construction you have delays and scheduling issues, but to go on for weeks with no progress seems a bit much. Any information you might be able to garner would be appreciated.

— Joe, Auburn

ANSWER: As with many things in life, sometimes the best-laid plans can go astray. Sun Spots has received a number of letters regarding the Hampshire Street project recently.

I spoke with the city of Auburn’s engineer, Tony Beaulieu, who took time out of his other duties to explain the issues that have caused a setback with this project, causing it to not be completed this construction season. Once this work was underway, a Central Maine Power duct bank was discovered that contained underground cables and wires. This development was not anticipated and the duct bank had to be relocated. This unforeseen issue was paired with waiting for permits to work under the railroad tracks. As if this wasn’t enough of a discouragement, the October windstorm factored into delaying the project further.

CMP’s portion of the project will be completed over the winter and Tony wants to assure everyone that the road will be maintained appropriately throughout the snow season. The project will be completed in its entirety in the spring. I hope this sets everyone’s minds to rest.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I had new tires put on my vehicle yesterday and when I got home, I realized they were from 2009! I thought tire shops had to rotate their inventory and couldn’t sell tires that old.

— No name, no town

ANSWER: I called two tire shops in the local area and was told by both managers that a shop having tires that old is “highly unusual” and they never should have been mounted on your vehicle. One tire shop manager explained that The Rubber Manufacturer Association approves tires up to 10 years old but also added that it’s typical practice that the stock in tire stores is rotated regularly with older tires being returned to the manufacturer. The other manager said putting tires that old on your car is a “gross oversight and not acceptable at all.” You should return to the shop and insist that you have those tires replaced.

Even in storage, rubber does break down, especially if exposed to UV rays and temperature fluctuation causing cracks that could cause a tire to blow out. Please write again to let us know how this issue is resolved.

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be emailed to [email protected]

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