Skip to main content

Raleigh TV Station Criticizes NCDOT

WRAL TV has completed an investigation into the possible spending of millions of dollars by NCDOT on a consultant report that may not have been needed.

Riddled by delayed and botched road projects and criticized for its inefficiency, the North Carolina Department of Transportation paid millions of dollars for a report last year that offered some of the same recommendations it got at no cost nearly a year earlier.

That's according to Kathryn Sawyer, executive director of the American Council of Engineering Companies of North Carolina.

In May 2006, the member organization paid to bring experts and transportation department officials from Florida, Missouri and Virginia -states that lead the nation in transportation project management - to find ways to help North Carolina become more efficient and successful when it comes to finishing projects on time....

Among the think tank's findings were needs to improve productivity, use key performance indicators and increase accountability - an area Sawyer said North Carolina needs improvement.

In the other states, like Missouri, a project deadline is locked in place, and if it is not met, project managers are held accountable for it, Sawyer said.

"(Project managers in North Carolina) had goals, but if they didn’t meet them, then (the goals) were moved," she said. "If a project was not completed, they just moved the date to where they thought it could be completed next."

Those three recommendations were some of the same more than a year later in a 472-page report from management consultant McKinsey & Co. The state paid $3.6 million to the international agency to analyze the DOT's entire organization and its practices.

Story: WRAL.com

Quick Commentary:
Didn't I say in my previous post, the last thing NCDOT needs is another story about it wasting money? What most of the problems with NCDOT that have been exposed over the last few years have in common in my opinion, and it's sort of ironic coming from someone sometimes described as being quiet, is a lack of communication. Between contractors and engineers (botched I-40 pavement), between separate departments in NCDOT (wrong exit numbers on NC 540), between engineers themselves (what is the proper thickness of pavement for an interstate highway, in this case what became I-795), and spending millions of dollars to find out something many in the department already new (the McKinsey Report). It would be interesting to know if the Missouri, et al DOT recommendations made it all the way to the top or were held back by some in management who did not want to change their practices that would make them more accountable.

It will also be interesting to see how this affects the debate about funding going on in the legislature.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The story on how the unbuilt US 40 Expressway in Brownsville took 40 years to complete.

For nearly four decades, the four lane US 40 just east of Brownsville came to an abrupt end - shown in the photo above - at Grindstone Road in Redstone Township.   In the late 1960s, what was then the Pennsylvania Division of Highways (PennDOH) extended a new four lane alignment of US 40 eastwards from Broadway Street slightly over one mile to Grindstone Road where an incomplete diamond interchange was built.  Earlier in the decade, PennDOH had built a four lane US 40 in Washington County into Brownsville complete with a new crossing over the Monongahela River known as the Lane Bane Bridge.  This new highway and bridge allowed US 40 to bypass the older Intercounty Bridge and downtown Brownsville. 

After this new highway opened, nothing would happen to it for nearly forty years.  US 40 traffic would use the ramps for this planned diamond interchange and then jog on Grindstone Road briefly before continuing towards Uniontown on the original National Road. 
What is unknown (at least to…

The story of the Boy Scout Ramps on Interstate 79 North in NW Pennsylvania

If you are traveling on Interstate 79 North of Pittsburgh, you may notice the remnants of a set of off and on ramps at mile 100 just north of Exit 99 (US 422).  There's a story behind these ramps.  Forty years ago, these ramps were built specifically for two Boy Scout Jamboree's that were held at Moraine State Park - 1973 and 1977.  The ramps purpose were to provide access to the north shore of Lake Arthur where the bulk of the festivities and campsite for the Jamboree were located.  (Lawrence County Memories has a great write up and map of the festivities on its site.)

Not long after the Jamboree ended the ramps were abandoned.  There are still remnants of the Boy Scout Ramps today.



Above: Sattelite view of the Boy Scout Jamboree Ramps. 
Below: A view of the ramps from I-79 South.



The google street view image above gives a view along West Park Road of where the set of ramps intersected the highway.  The ramps provided direct access to North Shore Drive (which is the right tur…

The few clues of the Northern Durham Parkway

Sometimes when you look through a box of maps for the first time in five years, you come across something you may have easily over looked.  Such was the case when I found a 2004 (so rather recent) map of Raleigh.  This map was made by the Dolph Map Company for WakeMed.  In the Northwestern corner of Wake County, there were two items to the map showing roads that are still not in existence 13 years later.

The road is the Northern Durham Parkway - this is a proposed 19 mile highway from US 501 north of Durham to the Raleigh-Durham International Airport.  The first proposals for this highway date back to 1967 when Eno Drive-Gorman Road was listed on the Durham Area Thoroughfare Plan. (1)  Other proposals called the highway the Northwest and Northeast Durham Loop. (2)  The route would serve as a northern and eastern bypass of Durham almost serving as a near loop.  The route was fought vigorously for three decades by the Eno River Association citing concerns for the the Eno River, nearby n…