VDOT District Administrator Dennis Heuer resigns

Posted at 2:30 PM, Feb 14, 2013

NewsChannel 3 has been taking action and following the I-264 pothole saga since Friday, reporting on it every single day.

Now, the results have come.

Dennis Heuer, the head of VDOT in Hampton Roads, is stepping down after intense public outcry from local residents, state lawmakers, and city leaders over the horrible potholes.

As for the company responsible for fixing those potholes--their new $34 million contract is now on hold, as VDOT's commissioner refuses to sign it before an internal review on their performance is done.

Since Friday's pothole debacle, NewsChannel 3 demanded answers from VDOT, taking them to task for their slow response, and asking who would be held accountable for their failures that led to this damage of more than 20 cars on I-264 from crumbling concrete.

We asked why District Administrator Dennis Heuer still had his job after a series of transportation disasters he always said it was his responsibility.

Even the City of Norfolk sent a letter to VDOT Thursday, with Mayor Paul Fraim saying I-264's condition was "the apparent result of a failure of management. We fully expect those persons responsible for this situation will be held accountable."

It was under all that pressure that Thursday, Dennis Heuer resigned, effective Friday.

“With the amount of press and concern that was raised around these issues and others, he felt it was in his best interest and the best interest of commonwealth, Hampton Roads, to pursue other interests,” said VDOT Commissioner Greg Whirley. “I believe in learning from mistakes, and we have had a couple issues, I trust that Dennis made the right decision.”

But was it a forced resignation? The commissioner wouldn't comment.

“Dennis has made his decision, we need to move on. Focus now is now on how do we improve road network,” says Whirley.

The commissioner ordered a comprehensive internal review, trying to figure out if TME upheld their maintenance contract, and if VDOT was properly watching over their work.

{my chief engineer is reviewing those records, going to meet with Tme, review their records, as a part of his report, will make an assessment on if the monitoring process was effective}

{they also have a responsibility, that is if you put in a certain patch, and that patch is not working, then you need to change and do something different, don’t wait for Vdot to tell you to switch from cold mix to hot mix, particularly if that patch is not holding}

after troopers deemed pothole ridden 264 too dangerous to drive on Friday, the VDOT commissioner also put a halt to approval of TME enterprise’s new 34 million dollar  maintenance contract, set to start in may.

“I have not signed  a new contract with TME. I do not plan to sign a new contract with TME until such time that I’ve complete my review, and I’m sure we have the right requirements in the contract, and I’m comfortable that the contractor can deliver,” says Whirley.

A final report is due by next Friday, which will have more answers as to who failed at VDOT in holding the contractor accountable.

As for Heuer's temporary replacement, that will be Mike Estes, who now serves as VDOT's director of strategic initiatives, while the search begins for Heuer's permanent replacement.


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