Local News

Botched I-40 Paving Job Could be Headed to Court

Posted April 12, 2007 8:05 p.m. EDT

— A dispute involving the botched paving job on I-40 could be headed to court.

On Thursday, the Department of Transportation said a subcontractor needs to pay for its role in the redo.

Digging up 10 miles of botched I-40 concrete and replacing it with asphalt has finally kicked into full swing. While crews blocked lanes and dodged traffic, the state has been debating who pays the bill.

There are three players in the dispute: the DOT, Granite Construction and the contractor hired to oversee the project, HNTB.

The DOT has authorized $21 million in repairs. Granite Construction paid $3 million for emergency repairs several months ago. HNTB said it has no plans to cut the state a check.

“We've looked at the issues very, very thoroughly, and at this point we see no areas where we feel like we share in the responsibility for the problem,” said Henry Liles, HNTB vice president:

DOT Spokesman Ernie Seneca said HNTB was hired to oversee the project and should have to accept some responsibility.

Neither side would discuss how much is at stake, although the DOT called it "a significant amount." But if the contractor pays, the hit to the taxpayers would decrease.

The speaker of the North Carolina house said he just wants the situation resolved.

“It's certainly not anything that anyone would be proud of and it has to be fixed, and fixed now. It is hoped that they'll fix it right,” said Rep. Joe Hackney, (D) Chapel Hill.

Despite the rift, the state sid it has worked with HNTB for 25 years and has never had any problems.