Six counties to pay for botched I-795 paving job

Posted November 30, 2009 5:11 p.m. EST
Updated November 30, 2009 7:00 p.m. EST

— Six eastern North Carolina counties will have to pay to replace crumbling pavement along an 18-mile stretch of Interstate 795 from Goldsboro to Wilson.

The state Department of Transportation has cut $12 million from the highway construction budget for DOT's District 4, which consists of Edgecombe, Halifax, Johnston, Nash, Wilson and Wayne counties, to pay for the repaving job.

The $120 million I-795 opened in December 2005, but within the first 16 months of being opened to the public, the pavement began failing, leaving large cracks and numerous potholes on part of the interstate.

A DOT investigation into the pavement problems determined that, in part, state standards were inadequate in making sure the roadway would be able to handle traffic.

Last month, the state awarded to Barnhill Contracting Co. a contract for slightly more than $6 million and S.T. Wooten Corp. for $5.9 million. The total of the contracts is $1.4 million less than DOT’s original estimate of $13.4 million to repair the damage.

Work started this month to fix problem areas and to put an additional 3 inches of asphalt over all four lanes of the highway. The entire project is on course to be completed by October 2010.

In 2007, state legislators used more than $22 million from the overall state budget to pay for similar repairs in a botched paving job on Interstate 40 in Durham.

"That may be the exception in the way that was handled," District 4 DOT engineer Ricky Greene said Monday, saying that the funding source for the I-40 project was unusual. "What's happening here is very typical for DOT over time."