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Editorial: Cutting it thin

Let’s hope the state Tranportation Department has learned a valuable ó although expensive ó lesson from its asphalt blunder on Interstate 795 in eastern North Carolina.
When the state was building the road between Goldsboro and I-95, engineer Wendi Johnson warned the DOT that the 5-inch pavement it was planning would be insufficient to support the heavy traffic load. She recommended 8-inch pavement. But as is too often the case in bureaucracies, people at the top discounted what they were hearing from down below. In this case, the extra layer of pavement would have added $3 million to the $196 million project, so the DOT balked.
It turned out to be a classic case of being penny wise and pound foolish. The roadway cracked faster than a cheap mirror. Within a year or so of its opening, fissures and potholes began to appear. Now, the DOT will have to spend $13 million to repair the damage and redo the road surface. Take-away lesson for DOT bosses: Next time you want to cut costs, try trimming some administrative fat rather than skimping on the pavement.

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