Local News

Crumbling I-795 Could Cost Millions to Fix

Posted April 8, 2008
Updated April 9, 2008

— The North Carolina Department of Transportation is retesting a stretch of road surface on Interstate 795.

The 21-mile section from Wilson to Goldsboro opened two years ago. Since then, the surface has cracked along a 2.5-mile stretch.

“It's not typical to have pavement failure of any sort within the first 16 months of a project being open to the public,” DOT division engineer Ricky Greene said.

This week, a crew from the Federal Highway Administration is analyzing the roadway. A van, equipped with deep-penetrating radar, looked Tuesday below the surface for a cause of the cracking.

“We're still looking for materials issues, construction-quality issues, looking perhaps for environmental issues and still looking as well at truck loading issues," Greene said.

The road concerns are easy to spot where black patches cover large cracks and pot holes along the 2.5-mile stretch. But all of I-795 is being examined as crews look for a solution to the roadway's crumbling.

“Since we're not entirely sure what's causing the problem, we think it's smart to evaluate our risk on the entire corridor,” Greene said.

The DOT is collecting data on the pavement's failure in hopes of putting together a plan for repair by the summer.

It will “be a valuable lesson learned in terms of the way we go about doing our work,” Greene said.

DOT officials said they are still not sure if they can fix just the cracked 2.5-mile stretch or if they will have to redo the entire highway. Some estimates have that alternative adding another $7 million to I-795's cost.

DOT officials said they hope to get most of the repair work done over the summer. Until they know the full scope of the problem, however, it is difficult to estimate a price tag or time frame, officials said.


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  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Apr 10, 2008

    "has anyone had a problem with the US1 widening in cary?? i dont live in the area anymore, but they used some kind of diamond technology when paving that stretch of highway"

    US-1 in Cary was a cement/concrete road. You used a diamond bit to grind down and smooth the concrete.

    The poor people in Cary couldn't deal with a rough and noisy road.

  • tartar1 Apr 9, 2008

    has anyone had a problem with the US1 widening in cary?? i dont live in the area anymore, but they used some kind of diamond technology when paving that stretch of highway

  • dogeatdog Apr 9, 2008

    From all I've heard the DOT did a sorry job with the paving in the first place. They were told it needed to be done with certain materials and a certain thickness, and they blew that off and did their own thing. Of course, I'm no engineer so I don't know a lot of specifics. BTW, it ain't just "pickle trucks" that travel 795. Don't forget Georgia Pacific trucks hauling all that lumber and raw materials and Butterball turkey trucks!

  • john60 Apr 9, 2008

    If it is only the increased number of trucks causing the pavement to fail, then why aren't the failures all over the road instead of just 2.5 miles of it?

    It's probably a combination of several factors; thin pavement, weak supporting soil, and more big trucks than expected. One of these by itself, maybe even two of them, and the road holds up. Get all three and you get failed pavement. IMO of course.

  • Dr. Dataclerk Apr 9, 2008

    woo who. There is always someone who knows the right information. For that, we all thank-you. :)

  • Marvin Apr 9, 2008

    A little history of I-795: The project began in the 1980s as a sorely needed widening of US 117 between Goldsboro and Wilson. Then-Congressman Martin Lancaster later found out he could get federal money for the project if it were built to interstate specs.

    DOT devised four plans for the road, and after 10 years of wrangling, of course chose the most expensive with the biggest environmental and human impact as dozens of families lost their homes and neighborhoods (mine among them) to the new road.

    After almost 20 years in the making, the US 117 bypass was opened. During the construction process, it was decided that the road could become a connector between I-95 and I-40 and should receive the I-795 designation. It was always supposed to handle interstate-type traffic - it was just a matter of the length of trailers on a US highway vs. an interstate.

    None of this has anything to do with the poor quality of construction. But before anyone decides to spout off, know the facts.

  • SheriffTruman Apr 9, 2008

    "The contractor should guarantee their work. If they don't make it good, then the State should sue for the entire amount the project cost & bar them from any further State contracts. We should get my money's worth."

    There is a warrantee period in all State contracts, however, as I said before, if the contractor built what the design called for but the design was not correct for whatever reason, why is that the contractor's fault?

  • wiseowl Apr 9, 2008

    Impeach and Imprison Lyndo Tippett.

  • RocknRollDoctor Apr 9, 2008

    You have to know what's at fault before placing the blame. It could have design specs. It could have a material issue. Nobody knows right now.

    It'll stand by my prediction that there a few natural spring under that road bed that are destabilizing the road bed.

  • ANGEL+3 Apr 9, 2008

    pat75,"The problem is that when it was designed and built, it was designated as a state highway. Then they decided to federalize so that big pickle trucks could use it. The increased weight is the problem."