Updated: Thursday, 21 Mar 2013, 4:08 PM EDT
Published : Wednesday, 20 Mar 2013, 8:57 AM EDT
LYNCHBURG, Va. (WAVY) - The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) discussed recommendations about the potholes plaguing Hampton Roads, during a Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) meeting in Lynchburg Wednesday.
One of the biggest developments that came out of the meeting is that VDOT will take over the roads until the pothole problem is fixed.
Potholes have been a problem on the major interstates in Hampton Roads, especially Interstate 264 and Interstate 64. Several vehicles have been damaged as a result.
VDOT issued a preliminary report stating its contractor, TME Enterprises, was not repairing the potholes in a timely manner and was not being proactive in preventing them.
Wednesday afternoon, WAVY.com obtained TME Enterprise's response to VDOT's preliminary report. The response states the contract the two had required minor maintenance repair by TME, not major. TME claims larger repairs were not in the scope of the contract.
"In mid-February, 2013, VDOT completely reinterpreted the Contract language for pothole repair and instructed TME to perform major repairs to large potholes and pavement failures," the response said. "This change also banned the use of permanent repair spray patching and cold mix for emergencies."
"When the Commonwealth couldn't afford the major repairs, it took the risk of something like this happening and it is now trying to shift that risk to TME," TME added.
TME Enterprises filed a claim shortly thereafter seeking $250,000 a week from VDOT. It was later announced TME Enterprises would pull out of the contract with VDOT.
During Wednesday's presentation, Chief Engineer Garrett Moore said what he saw in Hampton Roads on Interstate 264 and Interstate 64 was unacceptable and added several things could have been done to prevent potholes.
Moore said none of that was done.
VDOT Commissioner Greg Whirley recommended not doing similar work contracts again for roads in poor condition.
"We should have been much more aggressive in managing the contract with TME," Whirley said.
He said VDOT should hire a new contractor that will do maintenance as directed by VDOT and controlled by VDOT.
"After the potholes are fixed, VDOT will be bidding a contract this summer to repave 264, taking it from 9 inches thickness to 13 inches," Whirley explained.
Additionally, Whirley accepted blame for the fiasco.
Aubrey Layne with the Commonwealth Transportation Board addressed VDOT, stating there is no excuse for the actions of VDOT and TME Enterprises and no one did the right thing. Layne continued that some individuals should be held accountable for their actions. As for the pothole damage claims, Layne said, "VDOT is putting pressure to make sure these claims are responded to."
The CTB voted to rescind its award with TME Enterprises for maintenance on Interstate 64 and Interstate 264, effective in May. In addition, the CTB also approved the recommendation that VDOT cancel its Invitation for Bids to seek replacements.
VDOT will now maintain the roadways instead of contractors.
"Moving forward regarding southside I-64 and I-264, VDOT wil ltake over the management of the day-to-day maintenance activities such as pothole repairs to keep the road safe," Whirley said. "While immediate pavement repairs continue, work is also underway to permanently restore deteriorating sections of roadway. That pavement rehabilitation will go a long way in preventing potholes over the long term and provide a better riding surface."
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