Entire DOT Budget to Take the Hit for Botched I-40 Paving

Posted July 9, 2007
Updated July 10, 2007

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— It’s been a question almost as steamy as the new asphalt being laid on Interstate 40 through Durham County this summer. Who should pay the price for fixing the botched concrete job?

Triangle representatives have said the state should spread the cost statewide.

Some from other areas have said that since the blacktop is being spread here, it's the Triangle's problem –  specifically the Department of Transportation’s Highway Division 5, based in Durham and covering the Triangle.

Everyone agreed on the cost: $21 million. But from whose pocketbook?

The Legislature decided.

“The $21 million was approved in both the House and the Senate budget(s) to come out of DOT administrative expenses, as opposed to Division 5. That's a good thing for us. The money is coming in from statewide, not just the fifth highway district,” said Sen. Neal Hunt, R-Wake.

Pulling all $21 million out of Division 5 could have delayed projects like the I-85 overhaul through Henderson and the next leg of Wake Forest's N.C. 98 Bypass.

So, Triangle legislators are pleased, and local NCDOT engineers are happy, but spreading the bill statewide still has to pass the budget conference committee that’s trying to work out the 2007-08 state spending package.

“I think that will fly,” said Rep. Jim Crawford, D-Granville, a member of the conference committee, though he said he has heard from opponents who wanted the Triangle office of NCDOT to foot the bill.

“Naturally, there were some saying it's the Triangle's problem — you keep it in your district — but we feel it's a statewide problem,” Crawford said.

An NCDOT spokesman won't comment on pending legislation, but $21 million will put a strain on the administrative budget.

“But this is absolutely fair. The mistake was made by DOT personnel. There's no sense making just our district pay for it,” Hunt said.

The NCDOT has litigation pending against an engineering contractor that it says bears some of the blame for the botched job. Others involved have agreed to put up some of the cost.

What happened was that concrete was laid without appropriate expansion joints being cut deep enough to allow for the pavement to expand in summer heat and contract in winter cold. Concrete seems unmoving to human eyes, but it does change.

The I-40 pavement began to crack up shortly after it was laid.


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  • pbjbeach Jul 11, 2007

    i used to be a state inspector an because of the poltitcans an their ties to the contractors in this state. state inspector arent allowed to do the job that they were hired to do. an as to the use of private inspectors rather than state inspectors the only thing that the private inspectors are worried about is five o' clock an payday. where as the old timers that were state inspectors before they were forced out of their jobs were concerned with seeing to it that the ncdot got a good product from the contractors an that the specefications were enforced . i for the life of me just can't ubnderstand why that the contractors bonding company isn't picking up the tab for this bad work . i guess that it is do to the fact there is political deregulation taking place

  • wayne1961 Jul 11, 2007

    The guy that retired had about 10,000 people under him. Was he personally responsible for making sure the plans showed the proper expansion joints? No. Was he the one that needed to make sure that contractor knew about the joints? No. Was he the one making sure they were properly cut? No. Did all this happen under his watch? Yes.

    The low pay, excessive and forced vacancies, work load, and constant staff turnover were contributors for this. But the story never mentions that... I feel the legislature and governor are indirect contributors to this problem by not properly funding salaries and positions.

    Some people want to fire a bunch of people, and I respect that thought. But who are you going to hire in their place at the salaries the state pays?

  • ncgovsucksagain Jul 10, 2007

    PART 2 - While I am sure most of us are really too lethargic to "really" do anything at all about this, I would love to see the day when the American people - the TAX PAYING AMERICAN PEOPLE - take back it's country from big business and the career politicians. How do we do that? Does the name John Locke ring a bell? How about a little pamphlet called "Common Sense"? There was a dream called "America"...

  • ncgovsucksagain Jul 10, 2007

    PART 1 - No, it shouldn't be dropped. That is the reason for the issues raised in your first post "shakennotstirred", we just sit around waiting for the next time we take it up the rear. No, what needs to happen is instead of our local media wasting time on stories like an accident on I-40 or some stupid story about some officer running over one of his fellow officers why don't they do some real reporting and get the news that the general public is really interested in - WHO IS RESPONSIBLE AND WHAT IS BEING DONE ABOUT IT! AND WHY THE _____ AREN'T OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS LOOKING OUT FOR THE INTEREST OF THE TAX PAYER WHO IS REALLY THE ONES WHO HAVE ALREADY PAID FOR THIS AND WILL BE PAYING AGAIN. Shakennotstirred, you made an interesting comment in your post, "let's start a "Restructure Party" to run for gov't and run it like a business ... and get this welfare gov't and back scratching politicians OUT!!!"

  • shakennotstirred Jul 10, 2007

    so far the investigation into this mess and the resulting early retirements and big wig meetings and on and on have probably cost as much as the actual job... maybe we should drop this subject...

  • common_sense_plz Jul 10, 2007

    Shouldn't this mess be the problem of whom ever made the mess in the first place. It is my understanding that the state takes bid for such work, and it is also that companies responsibility to make sure that the job is done correctly. Now if this was not done, and did not last as long as needed nor in proper condition, then the money for this project should come from teh company that made the mess.

  • DaveTonyNC Jul 10, 2007

    I am deeply troubled that no one from our own NC DOT has come forward to both explain and take responsibility. Whether we like it or not we have to trust them. The mistakes made, and the financial burdens with the repairs impacts us all. We expect and demand accountability. Starting with the Commissioner Lyndo Tippett, he and his staff are accountable to us as taxpayers and should speak up about this and other issues we now face.

  • shakennotstirred Jul 10, 2007

    this story sounds all too familiar... remember the Katrina debacle (that's still going on), space shuttle explosions, convicts that get out early only to kill some more, gasoline prices hitting $5.00 a gallon due to americans and their suv's, Goldsboro being beach front property; oh wait, those last 2 are still to come... then we can all whine and say, "how did this happen?"... let's start a "Restructure Party" to run for gov't and run it like a business (say Walmart or SAS) and get this welfare gov't and back scratching politicians OUT!!!

  • Adelinthe Jul 10, 2007

    As if the roads aren't bad enough already, now the budget will be even smaller.

    Someone should lose their job over this. PERIOD!!! Crikey! I'd be fired if I even made a $1M mistake (lol), let alone a $21M one.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • lolly Jul 10, 2007

    Yea Animal Lover.