Repairs on Botched Paving Job to Snarl I-40 Traffic

Posted March 20, 2007
Updated March 21, 2007

— Motorists on Interstate 40 are in for another bumpy ride in the coming months as highway crews work to repair more than 10 miles of flawed pavement.

The stretch of I-40 between the Durham Freeway and U.S. Highway 15/501 was widened three years ago, with new asphalt laid over both the existing and new lanes. But expansion joints were improperly placed in the new pavement during the two-year, $50 million project, which caused the interstate to begin crumbling shortly thereafter.

The state Department of Transportation and highway contractors argued for months over who was to blame before deciding to split the $21 million cost to repair the pavement. Three DOT engineers were reprimanded for their involvement in the project.

The road repairs will begin April 10, and lane closures will affect night and weekend traffic.

Area officials are worried that the I-40 repairs could delay other road projects across the Triangle, such as widening Falls of Neuse Road in Raleigh and replacing its old bridge over the Neuse River.

"That's just unbearable for the citizens in this region," said Wake County Commissioner Joe Bryan, who heads the county's traffic planning organization. "We certainly do not look forward to people being stuck in traffic again, as well as losing the money. So, we're getting hit twice on this issue and nobody's happy with it."

Several lawmakers from Wake County have filed Senate Bill 783 to spread the I-40 repair costs statewide, instead of diverting money from the Triangle's highway funding district.

"(Paying) $21 million is a huge hit, and there's no sense in our citizens paying the penalty for that," said state Sen. Neal Hunt, R-Wake, one of the co-sponsors of the bill.


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  • ncboy Mar 21, 2007

    are they going to give us a tax credit for the extra gas we will waste sitting on their screw up...or will they raise the gas tax to pay for it?

  • wolfmingo Mar 21, 2007

    SteveO, The contractor followed the contract plans as per DOT's instructions. DOT gave them incorrect information so due to that the concrete is cracking. Its not the contractors fault. It is the DOT's fault for giving faulty information hence the reprimand of DOT employees and why DOT is having to eat the cost of the repair.

  • Steveo Mar 21, 2007

    Why should the taxpayer of North Carolina pay twice for road work? The reason the road repair is needed is becasue of a quality issue with the contractor. I may be missing something here but if the contractor made a mistake then the contractor should pay and NOT the taxpapers of NC.

  • tarheel1980 Mar 21, 2007

    This is the governors fault. He appointed Secretary Tippett and continues to support him. If Easley was interested in getting the problem fixed that loser would be out. It's time we wipe out corruption and politics as usual in North Carolina. Tippett was obviously a political appointment that has not worked out. The governor should fix it. The problem is not that we are not spending enough money. The problem is that we are wasting our money due to incompetence and corruption.

  • wolfmingo Mar 21, 2007

    Why is nobody blaming the real culprit in all of this DOT mess. The legislature. They have been robbing the Highway trust fund of MILLIONS (Probably closer to Billions by now) of dollars for how many years now to pay for their financial screw-ups. That is a big reason we have the transportation issues we have now. If they would pay that money back our roads wouldn't ba as crowded, our gas tax probably wouldn't be as high and we would all be alot happier. DOT is doing the best it can with what it is given and the contractors are doing the best that they can with what they have to work with. Blame the right individuals.

  • Pilot Mar 21, 2007

    Wrong Bob, hate to burst your bubble. I have a job with the DOT!

  • Bob Sidel Mar 21, 2007

    I hate to stick up for the DOT, but as far as the compensation bill goes, you need to understand that the citizens of the triangle are in fact the ones being held liable without this 783 bill because its their tax money flipping the bill rather than a state wide effort for a NCDOT/contractor mistake. Also, I would hate for my office place to be widely visible cuase God knows theyre are just as many screw ups, if not more than what happens within the DOT. Just think if someone was sitting behind your desk all day watching you, oh thats right you must not have a job if youre able to post comments on here during the day. - Bob Sidel

  • pappybigtuna Mar 21, 2007

    If I screwed up my federal and state income taxes do you think the DOT would pay the fines? Sounds stupid? Think about what they just did.

  • Pilot Mar 21, 2007

    Here is the plan, as I see it: We hand over our paychecks to the state, they take what they want/need and hand the remainder back to use to spend as we see fit. Now that rite thar is a plan!!!

    Incompetent boobs!!!

  • tarheel1980 Mar 21, 2007

    You are right. What is done is done. But we need to establish accountability. I am afraid that Secretary Tippett will allow this same type of incompetence and corruption to continue. He should be removed by Governor Easley. What was the governor thinking when he put Tippett in charge of toll roads for NC?