A mix design error and other lapses at the NCDOT resulted in 18 miles of bad pavement being laid on I-795. In late November crews started to mill 1.5 in. of the crumbling road and will add another 3 in. of new asphalt in an effort to strengthen the pavement.
The agency was under the direction of Lyndo Tippett when the botched project was executed, and it marked the second time the NCDOT came under fire for poor road construction during Tippett’s tenure. During the first, NCDOT admitted to making a costly paving blunder on I-40 in Durham County. Tippett’s highway administrator resigned and several others were disciplined as a result, and state legislators agreed that Durham and other counties should not be held responsible for the repair. They also demanded reform.
The state, however, is not offering the same kind of assistance for the I-795 debacle, even though highway officials issued warnings about the pavement thickness. Jim Trogdon, the NCDOT’s chief operating officer who was the No. 2 administrator under Transportation Secretary Gene Conti when I-795 was in its design phase, tried to get another 3 in. of asphalt applied, which would have added $2 million to the $196 million project.