Local News

DOT Resolves Paving Dispute With Raleigh Residents

Posted January 7, 2008 7:04 p.m. EST
Updated January 16, 2008 4:24 p.m. EST

— The state Department of Transportation agreed to repave streets in a Raleigh subdivision after residents petitioned state lawmakers.

The residents wanted legislators to intervene in a plan that the DOT calls a cost-effective option to repaving roads in low-traffic areas.

Ten weeks ago, the DOT resurfaced roads in the Wood Valley subdivision off Norwood Road with asphalt and gravel. Residents were concerned that the new road surface would reduce home values and pose health risks.

"I'm astounded they're using this," said resident Wade Ponder, an environmental expert who retired last week after 36 years of working with the Environmental Protection Agency.

Ponder said prolonged exposure to dust from the road surface could increase the risk for respiratory and heart problems and can lead to premature death.

Citing their concerns, Wood Valley residents collected nearly 500 signatures and submitted them to state Rep. Marilyn Avila, R-Wake, and Sen. Neal Hunt, R-Wake, on Monday. The petition that residents signed calls for the standards of subdivision pavement to be higher than those of rural county roads.

The DOT said it was unaware of potential health risks and said the surfacing is a viable option for low-traffic areas that will be used more in the future. Suitable roads include those with light to moderate cracking and those with lower average daily traffic and light truck traffic.

In an e-mail to Avila, the DOT said it has used the same pavement treatment for many years with "great results in both quality and aesthetics."

Avila said she thinks the DOT's criteria for using the alternative surface treatment should be reconsidered.

"It may be a good paving procedure or method, but not in that area," she said. "Somebody is going to have to pay for this savings, and it's not going to be the state of North Carolina and DOT. I have a feeling, unfortunately, it's going to be our taxpayers."

DOT engineers said they would fix the problem and repave the streets this spring. Engineers said they haven't decided what type of surface they will use.