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Botched I-40 Paving Job Could be Headed to Court

Posted April 12, 2007

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— A dispute involving the botched paving job on I-40 could be headed to court.

On Thursday, the Department of Transportation said a subcontractor needs to pay for its role in the redo.

Digging up 10 miles of botched I-40 concrete and replacing it with asphalt has finally kicked into full swing. While crews blocked lanes and dodged traffic, the state has been debating who pays the bill.

There are three players in the dispute: the DOT, Granite Construction and the contractor hired to oversee the project, HNTB.

The DOT has authorized $21 million in repairs. Granite Construction paid $3 million for emergency repairs several months ago. HNTB said it has no plans to cut the state a check.

“We've looked at the issues very, very thoroughly, and at this point we see no areas where we feel like we share in the responsibility for the problem,” said Henry Liles, HNTB vice president:

DOT Spokesman Ernie Seneca said HNTB was hired to oversee the project and should have to accept some responsibility.

Neither side would discuss how much is at stake, although the DOT called it "a significant amount." But if the contractor pays, the hit to the taxpayers would decrease.

The speaker of the North Carolina house said he just wants the situation resolved.

“It's certainly not anything that anyone would be proud of and it has to be fixed, and fixed now. It is hoped that they'll fix it right,” said Rep. Joe Hackney, (D) Chapel Hill.

Despite the rift, the state sid it has worked with HNTB for 25 years and has never had any problems.

12 Comments

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  • Jodyman Apr 25, 2007

    I've forgotten the original cost of the project, but why isn't NCDOT going after the contractor and the HNBT for that money? I mean, if I was a contractor working on someone's house, and did a job that didn't last or fell apart after I left, wouldn't you come after me to collect a reimbursement? Has NCDOT already paid in full for the original job? If so, why, and if not, why don't they withhold the remainder of the money until the job is done correctly? I'm sure the rest of us would do the same thing if it involved our home repairs.

    Also, I think everyone involved with this debauchery is leaving themselves open to a pretty hefty lawsuit. If anything happens in the construction zone of the next year, such as someone getting killed in an accident, I would think a well trained lawyer could make a pretty good case against all parties, including the state.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Apr 17, 2007

    Tippett should be fired. He's ultimately responsible.

    By the way, Tippett is the one who put in place the stupid equity formula that says we have the money to four lane roads to nowhere down east with almost a zero traffic count, while we can't afford to build needed roads in the triangle unless we agree to make them tool roads.

  • Z Man Apr 13, 2007

    I've brought it up myself (the point that Dizzy makes below). If they're going to have to re-do it, then they should re-do it correctly - meaning POUR THE CEMENT damn it. I believe the reason they're re-doing it in asphalt is hide the true cost of their faux pas. By doing so, the public is not getting the long lasting concrete roadway we originally paid for. I don't know how much more than $21Mil concrete would cost over asphalt, but I believe that if they presented the taxpayers wityh a $35Mil re-do bill instead of a $21Mil re-do bill then we'd be demanding more firings at the DOT.

  • suchhappiness Apr 13, 2007

    I thought the Jeb Bush Paving Company did a FINE job until the pavement started cracking.

  • Builder Apr 13, 2007

    How can HNTB not be held responsible, they were paid to oversee the project. If they don't have to pay I want a job like that. Oversee something, watch it go to hell, collect the money an run. HNTB should be banned from doing work with NCDOT. By the way all those who say contracting out saves the DOT money, here is an excellent example of it not working.

  • Low Voltage Apr 13, 2007

    This is a never ending problem. I cannot remember any DOT project that didn't go over budget accompanied with semi-shoddy to shoddy work. As a matter of fact, this goes for just about ANY govt contracts in building anything. i.e. downtown Raleigh and on and on.

  • NC to GA Apr 12, 2007

    The nightmare traffic, accidents and deaths will be back on a regular basis... I understand why they made the quick fixes with asphalt, but I do not understand why they are making this "overal" fix in asphalt. As stated by others, it will have to be re-paved over and over again causing annual or bi-annual backups and the accidents that follow. Terrible planning, terrible oversight and a terrible solution.

  • freddie cadetti 72 Apr 12, 2007

    The state is ultimately at fault here. Regardless of how the specs were interpeted, DOT has on-site inspectors at all times on Highway Construction work. I am sure it wasn't intentional, but those inspectors just missed it. I will say one thing more...Len Sanderson should not have been made the scapegoat here. It's the on-site inspectors and the District Engineer's responsibility.

  • BLA BLA BLA Apr 12, 2007

    my bad, shouldve read more closely, thay are digging it up,, and replacing with asphalt. Now why does that scare me.

  • BLA BLA BLA Apr 12, 2007

    And in a couple of years, the concrete will separate causing cracks in the asphalt where those joints are and they will be back at it again.
    WTG NCDOT. If you dont believe me, it happened in Granville County and they had to redo that stretch also.

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