Letters: CalTrans should focus on potholes first, not perfectly smooth roads

Re “You’re paying for America’s smoothest roads. Can you tell?” (sacbee.com, Dec. 16): Having recently made one of our many, sometimes teeth-jarring holiday trips to Southern California, I can attest to the need for highway smoothing. However, requiring contractors to adhere to the new Caltrans mean roughness index makes no sense. Mean roughness is not the problem. The numerous two to four-inch deep tire- and suspension-stressing patches of broken concrete on I-5 would not prevent meeting Caltrans’ “mean roughness” criterion. Instead of wasting money by bringing roadways to diamond grinding smoothness, Caltrans should focus on better preparation of the sub-soil base so that it doesn’t erode. Let’s get rational. No one needs laser-smooth highways. How about patching the existing potholes?

Dick Denman, Rough and Ready