Local News

Crumbling I-795 Could Cost Millions to Fix

Posted April 8, 2008 6:06 p.m. EDT
Updated April 9, 2008 1:12 a.m. EDT

— The North Carolina Department of Transportation is retesting a stretch of road surface on Interstate 795.

The 21-mile section from Wilson to Goldsboro opened two years ago. Since then, the surface has cracked along a 2.5-mile stretch.

“It's not typical to have pavement failure of any sort within the first 16 months of a project being open to the public,” DOT division engineer Ricky Greene said.

This week, a crew from the Federal Highway Administration is analyzing the roadway. A van, equipped with deep-penetrating radar, looked Tuesday below the surface for a cause of the cracking.

“We're still looking for materials issues, construction-quality issues, looking perhaps for environmental issues and still looking as well at truck loading issues," Greene said.

The road concerns are easy to spot where black patches cover large cracks and pot holes along the 2.5-mile stretch. But all of I-795 is being examined as crews look for a solution to the roadway's crumbling.

“Since we're not entirely sure what's causing the problem, we think it's smart to evaluate our risk on the entire corridor,” Greene said.

The DOT is collecting data on the pavement's failure in hopes of putting together a plan for repair by the summer.

It will “be a valuable lesson learned in terms of the way we go about doing our work,” Greene said.

DOT officials said they are still not sure if they can fix just the cracked 2.5-mile stretch or if they will have to redo the entire highway. Some estimates have that alternative adding another $7 million to I-795's cost.

DOT officials said they hope to get most of the repair work done over the summer. Until they know the full scope of the problem, however, it is difficult to estimate a price tag or time frame, officials said.