Six counties to pay for botched I-795 paving job

Posted November 30, 2009

— Six eastern North Carolina counties will have to pay to replace crumbling pavement along an 18-mile stretch of Interstate 795 from Goldsboro to Wilson.

The state Department of Transportation has cut $12 million from the highway construction budget for DOT's District 4, which consists of Edgecombe, Halifax, Johnston, Nash, Wilson and Wayne counties, to pay for the repaving job.

Six counties paying for highway repairs Six counties paying for highway repairs

The $120 million I-795 opened in December 2005, but within the first 16 months of being opened to the public, the pavement began failing, leaving large cracks and numerous potholes on part of the interstate.

A DOT investigation into the pavement problems determined that, in part, state standards were inadequate in making sure the roadway would be able to handle traffic.

Last month, the state awarded to Barnhill Contracting Co. a contract for slightly more than $6 million and S.T. Wooten Corp. for $5.9 million. The total of the contracts is $1.4 million less than DOT’s original estimate of $13.4 million to repair the damage.

Work started this month to fix problem areas and to put an additional 3 inches of asphalt over all four lanes of the highway. The entire project is on course to be completed by October 2010.

In 2007, state legislators used more than $22 million from the overall state budget to pay for similar repairs in a botched paving job on Interstate 40 in Durham.

"That may be the exception in the way that was handled," District 4 DOT engineer Ricky Greene said Monday, saying that the funding source for the I-40 project was unusual. "What's happening here is very typical for DOT over time."


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  • wattsun Nov 30, 2009

    They should rename I-795 "Roadkill Highway".
    Name your choice of Roadkill I-795 has got a buffet of several animals on a daily/nighly basis.

  • Bendal1 Nov 30, 2009

    Actually the traffic volumes were underestimated, especially the number of heavy trucks. Pavement designs are based on the # of vehicles and especially heavy trucks on the road, so this is a critical issue. The road was originally to be signed as US 117, but once politicians decided to call it I-795 the traffic was never updated to show the changed route designation.

    Why does this matter, you ask. Truckers look for interstates to drive on; they have a certain level of design that a US route may not have. Higher speed, safer, wider shoulders, more lanes, controlled access, etc, are all standard on interstates.

    Once the road was opened, the trucks started showing up, and the pavement started to fail. Had the volumes been recalculated during design the pavement thickness could have been adjusted, avoiding this whole situation.

  • Nov 30, 2009

    So how many years has paving roads been done now ? you would think that engineers would know how to lay rock and mud. This is about using OIL to make asphalt and to continue to fund our enemies. This is both the Govt. fault, fire those engineers and the company that accepted the bid to build faulty roads, they should be sued. Enough stupidity NC, every major road in the state has been paved twice in the last 5 years.

  • bandit Nov 30, 2009

    James27613 - There was a performance bond on the previous project, like all NCDOT projects and all of the lab analysis were sent to NCDOT and there was no fault found on the part of the contractor. There was a full report done by NCDOT and they even said that the contractor was not at fault. I can assure that if NCDOT could have blame the contractor, they would have done so after the I 40 disaster. The problem with this project was that it was not designed properly by NCDOT to handle the traffic loads, which is why they are adding an extra 3" of asphalt when the contractors are finished with the repairs.

  • Da Toy Maker Nov 30, 2009

    Did the responsible engineer(s) came up with the defective design loose his/her job over this? In private sector, if you screwed up like this, you sure ain't keeping the job. Just curious.

  • teacher-mom Nov 30, 2009

    I think some people at the DOT need to step down.

  • james27613 Nov 30, 2009

    No plans to try to recover the money from the original contractor and all subcontractors ?

    Outrage !

    Just like the I-40 disaster, once again the taxpayers get to pay for the highway twice.

    Is there no requirement for a performance bond from the contractor who did the job ?

    What about the test samples that are sent to the lab for
    analysis before signing off on the project ?

    This is criminal, either DOT, contractors or concrete company did not do their jobs properly.

  • thought Nov 30, 2009

    huh? back in the day- the person who messed up paid- why should we pay for their mistake? Who was on watch?

  • justafella Nov 30, 2009

    Agree aspenstreet, and again the North Carolina tax payer pays for again too. (Remember 40 in Durham)

  • MillerB Nov 30, 2009

    Just curious, what happens to the companies that did the job to begin with? You would think they would have a good idea of what the road can take, wouldn't they? After all, they do it professionally.