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.


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.


Popular posts from this blog

Old US 101; the San Juan Grade

While researching maps for California State Route 183 I noticed something interesting on the 1935 County Highway maps for San Benito and Monterey County.  From what it appeared it seems that there used to be a state highway running from US 101 south on San Juan Highway, through San Juan Bautista, south over the San Juan Grade to Salinas.  It turns out what I discovered was an a very old alignment of US 101 which was replaced by 1932.

The information relevant to the history of US 101 over the San Juan Grade is as follows:

-  The San Juan Grade was built in 1915 which presumably replaced Old Stage Road from Salinas to San Juan Bautista.  Presumably this was part of alignment adopted as Legislative Route 2 from San Francisco south to San Diego in 1909.  This history can be seen on 1931 edition of the California Highways and Public Works Journal and on

1931 Highways and Public Works Journal

CAhighways on LRN 2

-  By 1926 the San Juan Grade became part of US 101.  The San Jua…

The Tioga Pass Road

Last Summer the Tioga Pass Road over the Sierras in Yosemite National Park opened late due to the heavy snow pack during the previous winter.  Approaching the start of July the Park Service finally had cleared Tioga Pass, I headed up shortly after the 4th of July holiday during a lull in the tourist season.

The Tioga Pass Road runs from the Big Oak Flat Road east to US Route 395.  The Tioga Pass road is largely within the boundary of Yosemite National Park but is also partially on California State Route 120 east of the Tioga Pass entry station to US 395.  The Park Service maintained portion of the Tioga Pass Road serve as a implied connection between the two segments of CA 120.  The Tioga Pass Road is the highest road mountain pass in California with Tioga Pass which lies at 9,945 feet above sea level.

The Tioga Pass Road is very old with the eastern section up Lee Vining Canyon to the Tioga Mine being built in 1883.  The connecting section of the Tioga Pass Road from Big Oak Flat R…

California State Route 49, The Golden Chain Highway (CA 16 north over Yuba Pass to CA 89)

After completing California State Route 124 I took CA 16 to the eastern terminus to start my first Trans-Sierra route; California State Route 49/Golden Chain Highway over Yuba Pass.

As stated I joined CA 49 from the eastern terminus of CA 16 in Amador County.  CA 49 actually begins in Madera County to the south in Oakhurst at CA 41.  CA 49 is about 295 miles long and travels most of the traditional 1849 Gold Rush Country north from Oakhurst to CA 70.  If you want history and old towns then CA 49 is one of the best routes on the West Coast to see both.

To the north of CA 16 the next major junction is Signed County Route E16 in Plymouth which is on Shenandoah Road.  E16 is a 33.2 mile route which travels northeast to US 50. 

Plymouth dates back to the 1850s and is mostly known for a winery that dates back to 1856.  These photos are from Main Street looking west.

CA 49 generally is very rural and doesn't deviate much from when it was first signed back in 1934.  While CA 49 isn'…