Shoddy road repairs in Richmond costing taxpayers double

Taking Action

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Sloppy road repairs and a new audit reveals it’s costing taxpayers double.

The City of Richmond has a $5 million contract for crews to restore roads after utility cuts and digs. The audit sampled 25 recent repairs. It found 10 or 40 percent were in bad shape.

“It wasn’t a shocking revelation if you drive around the City. You’ll see a lot of these repairs or you’ll feel them when you’re driving over them,” says Richmond Councilwoman Kim Gray. 

Some of the more concerning findings included, asphalt poured over a concrete street. Another showed when the contractor removed a temporary patch, they damaged the road surface and one of the repairs was uneven.

The auditors found all of it would have to be repaired again. “We are paying multiple times for the same thing,” says Richmond Auditor Lily Hernandez.

The taxpayer is footing the bill. “We could be losing about a million dollars in sub-standard work,” estimated Hernandez. Councilwoman Gray noted, “And this was a small sampling. It’s several million dollars that potentially we are losing.” 

The report also found 263 permanent repairs were either done in bad weather on weekends or holidays without an inspector present. It’s not just a poor work, the paving unit has a backlog of nearly 600 repairs.

Gray and officials with the Department of Public Utilities assure 8News they’re working to address it all. “There are new processes that are in place,” says Gray.

DPU declined to do an interview with 8News but in a statement told us this:

“While there is still work to be done, DPU and DPW have made significant strides concerning working together with our paving program. There are bi-monthly meetings with all utility sections present where each project is discussed and paving and restoration plans are scheduled.” 

Specific issues bought about from the Audit Report are being addressed as follows:

Issue: Repairs Quality
Action: DPU has a workshop scheduled in November with ALL inspectors and contractors to review the acceptable standards for paving and restoration. Each inspector will receive a copy of the standards and are expected to comply. Any previous work that did not meet standards are/will be completed by contractors at no additional cost to the City.

Issue: Accountability
Action: Workshop scheduled for November will address protocol and procedures which inspectors will be required to adhere to.

Issue: Bad Weather Repairs
Action: Moving forward, no asphalt restoration will be authorized for temperatures below 40 degrees.

Issue: Repairs Timeframe
Action: Add additional resources as funding is available.

Issue: Paving Tickets Backlog
Action: Add additional resources as funding is available.”

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