RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK — July 18, 1996 - 3:35 p.m. EDT
The I-540 project is taking a pounding. The N.C. Department of Transportation first noticed cracks in the road last year. Now it appears those cracks are irreparable.
So the DOT is ripping up hundreds of yards of pavement near the I-40 interchange west of Raleigh and starting over.
It appears this road had problems from the ground up. Fill material crumbled, leading the road to crack.
The DOT estimates the repairs will delay the opening of the shortcut from I-40 to U.S. 70 by five months.
That's a disappointment to RTP commuters like Joe Rothengast.
"I've been waiting for this for 8 years," he said. "I'll be retired before this highway is finished."
The DOT says it tested the fill material. The tests compacted the soil and reportedly showed no problem.
Resident Engineer David Allsbrook estimates the delay will cost $2.7 million dollars.
"The Department of Transportation is footing the bill right now," Allsbrook said.
Plans call for I-540 to circle Raleigh when it's complete