Durham roads hitting another bump

AP image (AP)

November 4, 2010 9:19:36 PM PDT
It took months to take the bumps out of downtown Durham streets --from utility repairs to asphalt mishaps, the project was plagued with problems.The project was over budget and now road crews are back at it again, this time to make repairs to some of the same roads.

On Mangum Street, unexpected problems with sink holes, utility lines and inadequate asphalt, originally caused a bit of a delay and a few bottlenecks. But by mid-September the work was done, at least it was supposed to be.

"No, it's not anything that's really wrong, what's happening is when we're getting close to finishing every project, we do a walk through punch list, very similar to buying a house," said Joey Hopkins with the North Carolina Department of Transportation. "You're going to do a walk-through before you sign that final paperwork."

What DOT inspectors found were manhole covers that didn't meet state quality standards for a smooth ride.

So officials ordered the contractor to go back and make repairs. But some wonder if taxpayers are footing the bill.

"No, no, this is not costing anything to us or the taxpayers," Hopkins said.

Stimulus funds and taxpayer dollars were used to cover Durham's original resurfacing project that came in an estimated $167,000 under budget. But costly repairs cut that amount in half.

"It actually cost a little more than what we expected, because of what we found once we started doing the work," Hopkins said.

Overall, the DOT calls the project successful, promising drivers a smoother ride after this latest round of repairs wraps up next week.

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