I-40 Redo Means Less Money For Other Roads
Posted November 11, 2006 5:38 a.m. EST
DURHAM, N.C. — Area transportation planners believe fixing faulty pavement on Interstate 40 will likely delay other road projects across the Triangle.
Expansion joints were not properly included in a 10.6-mile segment of I-40 in Durham County during a major widening project that finished two years ago. Last year, state Department of Transportation engineers discovered the problem when the new pavement began to crumble in various places.
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DOT officials on Thursday announced that the agency had reached an agreement with the highway contractor and the federal government to pick up most of the $18.6 million cost of ripping up the concrete between the Durham Freeway and U.S. Highway 15/501 and replacing it with asphalt.
However, paying the state's portion of that repair job will mean less money for other projects in the DOT's Division 5, which stretches from Roxboro to Rocky Mount and includes the Triangle.
"We're going to have more congestion out on I-40. People are going to be delayed in these repairs. They're going to be frustrated," Wake County Commissioner Joe Bryan said. "Probably most people are going to feel like they're paying for this twice."
Bryan chairs the committee that submits Wake County and Raleigh's road wish-list to the DOT. He's upset that the DOT used an experimental concrete overlay process on the I-40 widening project.
"To use it as an innovative approach that didn't work," he said. "Without proving it, you know, making sure it was an approved way to handle 100,000 cars (a day) is just amazing to me that that would even be looked at."
Area transportation planners meet in Raleigh next Tuesday, and Bryan said the I-40 fix will be on the agenda. Although no one can say with certainty that the money lost to repair I-40 will delay any specific road project, he said there's no question it will further strain limited highway frunding.
"There's not some new money out there to fix this issue. It is money that will be coming out of desperately needed money for other problems in our area," he said.