DOT Crews Hit Road for Guardrail Repairs

Posted January 11, 2007 7:12 p.m. EST
Updated January 12, 2007 12:56 p.m. EST

State Department of Transportation workers cruised Interstate 40 and other Wake County roadways Thursday, searching for broken cable rails. It's the first effort under a new policy requiring weekly checks of the guardrails.

Each DOT road maintenance office is now required to ride the rails, looking for downed median cable barriers. The state transportation secretary ordered the inspections last week after a triple fatal wreck on Christmas Day, where an SUV slid across a broken cable barrier and slammed into an oncoming car.

“They did change the policy with cable median barrier rails,” said DOT engineer Ashley Pilkington. “We have what they now call emergency call-back, and with emergency call-back, we give the contractor 7-10 days to repair it.”

Once the spotters found a trouble spot Thursday, contractors moved in to fix it. The crew fixed seven areas where there were multiple cable breaks. Three of the spots were on N.C. Highway 64, and four were found on I-40.

In the past, DOT crews waited for accident reports from the Highway Patrol and calls from drivers before making repairs. Drivers told WRAL Thursday it was time for a new approach.

“I feel like we spend enough of our tax dollars so that these things should be repaired for safety -- not just for me driving, but for everybody else,” said one driver.

The repair crews are playing catch-up. There was a long repair list before the inspections, and new trouble spots show up almost every day.

DOT officials said they still welcome tips from drivers on downed cable guardrails. Motorists should call their nearest state highway maintenance office to make a report.