Local News

DOT Audit May Affect Proposed Projects

Posted May 18, 1998 7:00 a.m. EDT

— The DOT audit shows we are spending too much money on new highways and not enough to maintain the ones we have. So what does this mean for you? If there's not enough money, the roadwork won't get done.

One city has been waiting for its short-cut a long time. Now Fayetteville may have to wait longer. They've been talking about building Fayetteville's outer loop for decades. This year construction was finally scheduled to get underway. DOT officials now say the audit may change that, and like all other projects in the works, it will be re-evaluated.

The previous secretary of the DOT is being blamed for the money shortage. New secretary Norris Tolson says he recognized the problems shortly after he took over.

The Fayetteville outer loop was scheduled to go right through the middle of Brenda Lyons property, separating her from her mother. Hearing that the project may not get underway after all, Lyons feels like her emotions are being toyed with.

"We had just built, and there had been no mention of the road in years," Lyons says. "Then, all of the sudden, it's coming right through here, and you are torn. You don't know whether to keep working on your landscaping and that type thing, or do you hang it up."

Lyon's has been to public hearings, and she agrees with the criticism. She believes public input has been ignored.

"They're going to do what they want to do, regardless of what anyone else thinks," Lyons explains. "There's no concern about who has to be relocated. It's what they want to do."

The audit also criticized the DOT for planning new roads while ignoring beat-up and congested ones that should take priority. R.J. Finin has driven all over the country. He says this state has some of the worst roads he's ever seen.

"The way the roads are, they don't work right," Finin admits. "As far as getting traffic down and getting everybody to where they're going and getting them home and stuff, when everybody is getting home from work and all on the road at the same time."

In light of a money shortfall, DOT officials will only say that all the projects yet to be started are no longer guaranteed.