Local Politics

Consulting Firm Will Help Restructure DOT

Posted October 23, 2007

— The North Carolina Department of Transportation on Tuesday outlined a plan to correct problems in the way it operates to improve transportation services in the state.

At a Joint Legislative Transportation Oversight Committee meeting, Chief Financial Officer Mark Foster said the department has paid $3.6 million to an independent consultant, McKinsey & Company, to help restructure the agency, which he said, has been operating on a model from the 1960s.

"We're not ready for the 21st century needs," Foster said.

The DOT's goal is to prioritize projects across the state, be more efficient with its money and time and prevent problems of the past from being repeated.

For example, the newest stretch of Interstate 540 in Wake County, N.C. 540, was supposed to ease congestion onto Interstate 40, but engineers eliminated an exit lane, causing long lines on the exit ramp where vehicles are trying to exit for both east and west on I-40.

"It's incredible to me that nobody is one is ultimately responsible," said Sen. Neal Hunt, R-Wake. "How can you design a new interstate and not have access to get off of it? I mean, one-lane access off a four-lane highway – it's just ridiculous."

The DOT admitted to poor planning and that it should have looked at ways to avoid the problem before opening the roadway in July.

And improper construction on a 10.6-mile stretch of I-40 through Durham County cost $21 million to repair a botched paving job.

In 2003, crews began widening I-40 to six lanes from the Durham Freeway to U.S. Highway 15-501. The project, cost $50 million and was completed about a year later. But in 2005, the top layer of the two old lanes of the interstate began crumbling.

A final report with recommendations is expected next month, but there are already suggestions such as offering incentives to crews that finish a project on time or ahead of schedule.


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  • retired and luv it Oct 24, 2007

    It s not just DOT. I just retired from the Justice Dept after 30 yrs and seeing the waste and incompetent management that flows through state agencies including Justice is appalling. There are appx 60% of the employees that are actually doing the work. The rest are politicians, K A's, and hang on types that ride a tolerant system while the deacent employees try to do the job. Keep in mind these parasite types somehow end up in "managemant" positions and I use the word very loosely. If state government could be stramlined by an independent restructuring free from any other influences but government for the people and the "dead weight" cut, we would not have any of these crisis that seem to face us daily and tax hikes. People it is called "WASTE and INCOMPETENCE". It is not the exception but the rule. The answer starts with "TERM LIMITS" for the Jim Blacks, Marc Basnghts, and the rest of the forever faces on your nightly news.

  • TheWB Oct 24, 2007

    Fingers crossed they get a handle on things, but most of the time, millions are spent for outsiders to recommend what is plain obvious in the first place. If we see heads rolling after the consultation is finished it will be a sign of possible progress. If we just hear announcements from department heads that they have some very good ideas and that they are considering implementing many of them, well then, we'll know it was just another tax wasting, grandstanding, hiney covering stunt.

  • pbjbeach Oct 24, 2007

    just stop the contract fraud an the coruption an let state inspectors do the job that they are capeable of doing an enforce the N.C.D.O.T. SPECEFICIATION. THE NCDOT USED TO HAVE AN EXTREMELY CAPEABLE ROADWAY DESIGN UNIT UNTIL THE POL'S DECEDIED TO DO AWAY WITH IT IN FAVOR OF LETTING CONTRACTS FOR THE RAODWAY DESIGN

  • djofraleigh Oct 23, 2007

    Having worked for the DOT, I'd say the first step would be to fire half the workers, hopefully not the half that does the all the work.

  • YeahWhatever Oct 23, 2007

    Thank you!

    I was VERY disappointed in WRAL's "report" on this matter. The reality is that the funding issues are created by the general assembly, not how DOT allocates money. It was very misleading on the part of WRAL, but then again, I guess they need to create controversy and stir the pot.

    Asking our reps a few hard questions would've been a good plan - they got a free pass!

    We need to get rid of low bid on all state contracts (from pencils to pavement). Frequently, low bid is not cheapest by the time you get done with a project be it road construction or computer software development. But that is statutory requirement.

  • shine Oct 23, 2007

    I just wonder whose brother in law, cousin, or uncle owns the consulting firm....... kinda fox in the henhouse... I would bet.

  • rand321 Oct 23, 2007

    Its about time the DOT faces up to a problem in their planning and project management. The Legislature, especially Neal Hunt, needs to face up the fact that the allocation dollars of the high trust funds needs to be re-evaluated to help the urban districts with the needs from their growth.

    When the trust funds were set up, Wake County and the triangle were a fraction of their size. We are now the second largest county in the state and growing even more rapidly. the urban district legislators should push for more money from the state and encourage our congressional delegration to work harder to get more money to NC. We should at least receive as much as we pay in federal transportation taxes!