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The Real Moron
News & Observer
July 9, 2008
Ryan Teagure, Staff Writer
He quit rather than lower flag for HelmsRALEIGH - L.F. Eason III gave up the only job he'd ever had rather than lower a flag to honor former U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms.
Eason, a 29-year veteran of the state Department of Agriculture, instructed his staff at a small Raleigh lab not to fly the U.S. or North Carolina flags at half-staff Monday, as called for in a directive to all state agencies by Gov. Mike Easley.
When a superior ordered the lab to follow the directive, Eason decided to retire rather than pay tribute to Helms. After several hours' delay, one of Eason's employees hung the flags at half-staff.
The brouhaha began late Sunday night, when Eason e-mailed eight of his employees in the state standards lab, which calibrates measuring equipment used on things as widely varied as gasoline and hamburgers.
"Regardless of any executive proclamation, I do not want the flags at the North Carolina Standards Laboratory flown at half staff to honor Jesse Helms any time this week," Eason wrote just after midnight, according to e-mail messages released in response to a public records request.
He told his staff that he did not think it was appropriate to honor Helms because of his "doctrine of negativity, hate, and prejudice" and his opposition to civil rights bills and the federal Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
Eason said in an interview Tuesday that he did not typically lower the flag himself, but that, as head of the lab, he supervised the technician who did. He also trained new employees on proper flag etiquette, including a one-person folding technique he learned in Boy Scouts.
When the lab opened Monday morning, the flags were not out at all. An employee called Eason's boss, Stephen Benjamin, who worked in another building in Raleigh. About 10:45 a.m., Benjamin told one of Eason's co-workers to put the flags at half-staff.
Another of Eason's superiors later drove by the lab to make sure the flags were up properly.
No one in the Governor's Office was aware of any time in recent memory when a state employee refused to lower a flag. Brian Long, a spokesman for the Agriculture Department, said Eason's refusal was unexpected.
"We've never had any conversations like that," he said.
In a string of e-mail messages with his superiors, Eason was told he could either lower the flags or retire effective immediately.
Though he's only 51, Eason chose to retire, although he pleaded several times to be allowed to stay at the lab. Eason, who had worked for the Agriculture Department since graduating from college, was paid $65,235 a year as the laboratory manager.
Several people, including his wife, argued to Eason that the flags belonged to the state, as did the lab. But Eason said he felt a strong sense of ownership.
Eason and a previous boss had sketched out the building's rough design on a napkin at the Atlanta airport in 1984 after attending a national conference on weights and measures.
He then worked to get funding for it in the state budget, and he recently helped snag state money to study building another lab.
"I designed and built that lab," he said. "Even though technically the bricks and mortar belong to the state of North Carolina, I feel very strongly that everything that comes out of there is my responsibility."
It was not the first time Eason felt uneasy about lowering the flag.
A registered Democrat who frequently votes a split ticket, he said he had no problems lowering the flag for former Sen. Terry Sanford or President Reagan. But he remembers wondering whether he would be willing to lower the flag after President Nixon's death.
He never had to make that decision, since it rained both days.
Monday was sunny. And Eason was out of a job. Original report...
July 1, 2008
News & Observer
Benjamin Niolet, Staff Writer
Mary Easley trips cost state $109,000
Groups visited France, Russia, Estonia on cultural exchanges; no results yet
North Carolina's first lady, Mary Easley, visited some of the finest museums in France and St. Petersburg, Russia, during the past 14 months. She and entourages dined at first-class restaurants, slept in top-notch hotels and sat in the fifth row for a Russian ballet. The travels -- a 2007 trip to France and one to Russia and Estonia in May -- cost taxpayers $109,000.
Gov. Mike Easley did not go on either trip, and neither was publicly disclosed at the time. Mary Easley did not respond to requests for an interview, but expense reports and other documents released in response to a public records request indicate the trips were considered cultural exchanges to build links between North Carolina and officials in the countries visited. The trips have so far produced no tangible benefits. Read the article...
News and Observer
March 22, 2008
David Bracken, Staff Writer
No smoothing out in sight for a bumpy ride in Apex
APEX - If you're one of the many cyclists who regularly ride down South Salem Street in Apex, you know the particular stretch we're talking about.
Situated between Apex Barbecue and Tingen roads, this half-mile section is lined with cracks, unexpected bumps and the occasional pothole.
"I'm just not sure what they think cyclists are supposed to do there," cyclist Janyne Kizer said. "They're telling us to go there."
This section of South Salem, also known as old U.S. 1, is part of the U.S. Bicycle Route 1, which runs along the eastern seaboard from Florida to Maine. Kizer is one of dozens of cyclists who ride the route each Saturday.
Kizer has complained to the town of Apex but was told the road's condition is the responsibility of the state Department of Transportation.
Bruce Radford, Apex's town manager, is well aware of the problem. "Of all the roads I receive complaints about in the town of Apex, this one is much worse than any other," Radford said. "It will jar your teeth and your car as well."
In addition to being a popular cycling route, the section of road is an entry point into four subdivisions, Radford said. He has no idea when it was last resurfaced, and he says DOT officials have not been able to tell him when it will be repaired.
"We've not really received much hope that it's going to be repaired," Radford said.
Messages left with engineers in charge of road maintenance for N.C. DOT District 5, which covers Wake County, were not returned this week. Original article...
Mrs. Crane's response on Easley not accepting responsibility of failure of the mental health care system is that "It does amaze me that y'all have done this [News & Observer report] series detailing all this waste of money, all the hurt people ... and that the one person who gets fired is me," she said. "It's truly shooting the messenger."
News & Observer
March 4, 2008
DHHS public affairs director fired
RALEIGH - The Easley administration today fired Debbie Crane, the state official who handled News & Observer reporters' requests for information as they worked on a series about mental health.
Crane, 48, who was public affairs director at the state Department of Health and Human Services, said department secretary Dempsey Benton told her yesterday that Gov. Mike Easley "wanted me out. He had lost confidence in me."
Crane was officially fired this morning by another department official, she said, after Benton went to Easley's press conference about mental health issues.
Crane said her dismissal revolved around the Easley administration's attempts to get former DHHS secretary Carmen Hooker Odom to talk to The N&O about her supposed opposition to the 2001 mental health reforms. Read the full report...
Department officials defined too loosely the community support services companies would offer, and they agreed to pay too much for it according to a news report. Responsibility for enacting the changes fell to Health and Human Services, led for six years by Carmen Hooker Odom, Gov. Mike Easley's appointee. They didn't think through all the details of providing adequate services for mentally ill patients and were overwhelmed by the task and still are. Hooker Odom announced her resignation from DHHS last May, two weeks after informing Easley about what she called a "deeply disturbing" audit of mental-health providers.
News and Observer
February 24, 2008
The Associated Press
State wastes millions in mental-health reform
RALEIGH, N.C. - North Carolina has wasted at least $400 million in its efforts to treat more mentally ill people in their own communities and fewer in the state's four psychiatric hospitals, The News & Observer of Raleigh reported Sunday.
An investigation by the newspaper showed that local governments, forced to stop offering treatment, were replaced by providers trying to make money, using mostly high school graduates instead of licensed professionals. In a few months, the cost of the community support program was $50 million a month, more than 10 times what the state had expected.
Providers took some clients to movies or shopping, charging taxpayers $61 an hour, according to the newspaper's investigation. Meanwhile, some seriously ill people went without treatment.
It was almost a year before the state reacted.
Hundreds of providers have abused the system, the state now says. Read more...
"The lack of performance management practices has been pointed out to DOT before," the auditors wrote.As expected, DOT officials are disputing the findings rather than admitting they happened and are not focusing on working toward solutions. Debbie Barbour, director of preconstruction for the department, claims engineers have only a rough guess of how long a project will take when funding is approved and says the detailed engineering has not been done up front (as it should be). She states that since the engineering work has been done at approval time, the estimated completion date can't take into account problems along the way. She also argues that environmental problems, obtaining permits and other issues are out of control of the department and says it is unfair to say projects are late because of those and other issues.
Signs continue to surface that the DOT is a poorly managed organization and unacceptable practices from the top down cause virtually everything DOT touches to be poorly done, to introduce avoidable significant problems and delays into projects and to cause taxpayers to pay more for substandard work that does not meet growing needs of the state.
It's time for Governor Easley, who takes much of his direction from his staff of buddies that help him make unwise choices and appointments of "good old boys" to state leadership positions, to realize the severity of problems in DOT and other state organizations and fire top leaders like Lyndo Tippett and mid-level management people like Debbie Barbour and at least make a feeble effort to re-establish a little control and get something for the billions of dollars spent on roads and projects while he is still in office.
Read the full article about findings in the study...
News and Observer
February 7, 2008
Dan Kane and Benjamine Niolet, Staff Writers
Delayed road projects cost millions
An audit of three years of completed state Transportation Department projects found many of them finished behind schedule, leading to what auditors say is an additional $150 million in inflation-related construction costs.
"DOT is a multi-billion dollar state agency that appears to operate on hunches and intuition rather than hard data analysis," State Auditor Les Merritt said. "As a result, taxpayers paid $152.4 million in unnecessary construction costs."
The 43-page audit released today looked at 390 highway projects completed between April 2004 and March 2007. Auditors said that 73 percent of those projects missed their projected construction starts. Forty percent of the projects missed that mark by more than a full year, Merritt said.
The audit said that the permitting process, environmental reviews and design changes caused many of the delays.
Department officials say the auditors held the department to an unfair standard. The $150 million figure is oversimplified and doesn't account for some $80 million the department saved by expediting projects within the same time frame.
The auditors based a project's start date and projected completion date on when the transportation board approved money for preliminary engineering. The problem with that method, said Debbie Barbour, director of preconstruction for the department, is that engineers have at that time only a rough guess over how long a project will take. Since no engineering work has been done, the estimated completion date can't take into account problems along the way.
"In developing a project, there are certain things that are outside the department's control, such as obtaining an environmental permit," Barbour said. "We don't really have control of the time frame on every activity in the approval process."
The auditors found that the department does not track or analyze delays or successes in its road-building projects, despite repeated warnings and recommendations during the past 10 years from auditors and consultants. The auditors said that if the department had an effective system for tracking performance, officials might have seen that delays cost taxpayers $150 million.
"The lack of performance management practices has been pointed out to DOT before," the auditors wrote.
But department officials say the department has implemented several new programs and processes since 2001 that wouldn't have been evident in the time period the auditors examined. The department has worked with the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources to streamline environmental permitting. The department measures whether it met target dates for acquiring property for a project or opening bids.
And the department has spent $3.6 million to hire a consultant to help officials change the way the department does business.
Bill Rosser, the state highway administrator said that the department works hard to finish projects on time, but road building is a complex and expensive business. Rosser said if the auditors looked at a newer set of projects, the findings would be much different.
"We would like to be responsive and deliver our projects," Rosser said. "We're always looking at the way the process works." Original source ...
News & Observer
Dan Kane and Benjamin Niolet, Staff Writers
February 03, 2008
N.C. road building still mired in politics
Reforms in a 1998 law have failed to separate the state Board of Transportation from political fundraisingNearly 10 years ago, state legislators championed a series of reforms for the scandal-plagued N.C. Board of Transportation that were intended to take the politics out of building roads.
Future appointees would have to disclose their political fundraising. Five of the 19 seats would be reserved for people with special skills in such fields as the environment and mass transit. Members would have to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest.
"The board's policies, effectiveness and integrity are important to almost every citizen," Beverly Perdue, then a state senator, said on Sept. 23, 1998, the day the bill cleared the legislature. "The public has demanded reform, and this bill lays the groundwork."
That groundwork has proven a weak foundation. A decade after Perdue hailed the reform law, the 19-member DOT board remains a plum spot for big political fundraisers who continue to ignore conflicts of interest and the wider needs of the state beyond their own districts.
* The fundraising disclosure rule is toothless. The only fundraising that board members must disclose is contributions directly handed to them. Asking people to give to a campaign or holding fundraisers -- two common ways to raise campaign money -- aren't considered fundraising on disclosure forms.
* Two of the five seats intended to bring more professionalism to the board have been given to fundraisers best known for running restaurant chains.
* Conflicts of interest continue to surface. Last month, board member Thomas Betts Jr. of Rocky Mount resigned after he sought to raise $20,000 in campaign money from country singer Randy Parton and the others behind the struggling performing arts theater in Roanoke Rapids. Betts had directed $2.5 million in road work to the theater over the previous year. He sought campaign money for Perdue, now lieutenant governor, who is seeking to be the next governor.
* Some at-large members, who are supposed to look out for the entire state, are steering their discretionary money to their home districts.
The board oversees a department with a $3.8 billion budget and a serious public image problem. A chorus of lawmakers, public policy advocates and even transportation department employees say that the department is dysfunctional -- at a time when the state's transportation needs are growing dramatically. A special "blue ribbon" legislative panel is meeting to figure out how to get the department back on track.
The department even bungled trying to fix itself. It hired a consultant at a cost of $3.6 million to help assess its strengths and weaknesses and foster change. But the department refused to disclose the terms of the contract and any findings until Gov. Mike Easley ordered them made public.
The board's makeup and activities have emerged as a campaign issue in the gubernatorial election. Perdue's rival for the Democratic nomination, State Treasurer Richard Moore, has made it a key part of his campaign. Last month, among other proposals, he announced that he would not appoint fundraisers to the board. Perdue has not called for banning fundraisers from the board.
Ten years ago, Perdue's DOT reform bill won favor over a stricter bill initially filed in the House that would have banned fundraisers from the board, required five experts in various areas, and taken away the governor's power to appoint the transportation secretary.
Last month, Easley said trying to ban fundraisers from the process would just push the money underground.
"When you get into the fundraising business, if people want to participate, they'll find a way, just like the squirrel into the bird feeder," Easley said. "I want to know how much somebody's given who's been appointed and I think people want to know as well."
Finding wiggle room
But when Easley was elected governor in 2000, two years after the reform bill passed, he quickly found wiggle room in the transportation reform law. Easley's counsel, Hampton Dellinger, asked Grayson G. Kelley, a senior deputy attorney general, for an interpretation of what made someone a fundraiser under the new law. (Dellinger is now a Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor.)
Kelley focused on the phrase "personally acquired" in the law. He said that meant the only disclosure required was of "funds the appointee personally accepted from a donor and physically transferred to the campaign, executive committee or political committee."
To make sure he had understood the intent of Perdue and other sponsors, Kelley said, he talked to the legislative staff who drafted the law. He said they support his view "that a narrow construction of the disclosure provision was intended."
Perdue declined to be interviewed for this report. Her spokesman, David Kochman, released a statement saying the legislation was a "starting point" for reform and stronger than the version passed by the House. Easley also declined to be interviewed.
With the opinion in hand, Easley's staff advised his appointees to the board in a memo that they did not have to disclose fundraising if it did not involve collecting the checks.
Shortly afterward, appointees Louis W. Sewell Jr. of Jacksonville and D.M. "Mac" Campbell of Elizabethtown wrote "none" on their fundraising disclosure forms. Interviews with other Easley fundraisers, and an internal Easley campaign document obtained by The News & Observer, show that Sewell helped meet a $125,000 fundraising goal in Onslow County, while the campaign counted on Campbell to help raise $50,000 in Bladen County. (An Easley spokesman, Seth Effron, said neither Easley nor Dave Horne, the campaign treasurer in 2000, could confirm the document's authenticity. Effron said Easley declined to comment on the information within it.)
Another Onslow County fundraiser for Easley, Joe Henderson, said that he, Sewell and another man solicited contributors by phone and held a reception for Easley at an inn that has since been torn down.
Sewell, who also served on the board under former Gov. Jim Hunt, did not return messages left at his home or at work. He is a retired executive with the Golden Corral steakhouse chain. In 2005, Easley awarded him one of the state's highest honors, the Order of the Long Leaf Pine.
Campbell confirmed that he raised money for Easley in 2000 and 2004 by holding fundraisers at his lakefront cottage, but he did not have to disclose his efforts because he did not collect the checks. He cited the Easley memo.
Another appointee, Lanny T. Wilson of Wilmington, said in his 2000 disclosure form that he would follow up with information about his fundraising, but no such documentation is on file with the legislature or the Governor's Office. Wilson said he doesn't remember whether he provided it and said he didn't have to anyway because he did not "personally acquire" contributions.
In the disclosure he filed for his reappointment in 2005, Wilson listed totals he raised for 17 candidates, including Easley. He also wrote that he held a fundraiser for Easley. But other than family members, Wilson does not list the names of any contributors. The form asks for the names of contributors; the law says that appointees are required to disclose contributions.
Some report fully
Three other DOT board members members provided more information.
Cameron W. McRae of Kinston, who owns a string of Bojangles' restaurants, provided a spreadsheet that listed not only contributors, but also everyone he solicited. They contributed $126,000 for Easley in 2000.
G.R. Kindley, the former mayor of Rockingham and a builder, and Paul Waff Jr., an Edenton contractor and developer, also provided lists of contributors. They raised $38,000 and $24,000, respectively.
"I wanted everybody to know who was contributing," Kindley said in an interview. "I think it's important to know."
Waff, who left the board in 2002, said he was appointed after he went to R.V. Owens -- a renowned fundraiser for Easley, state Senate leader Marc Basnight and other Democrats -- to express an interest in a seat.
Easley's appointee for transportation secretary, Lyndo Tippett, a CPA from Fayetteville, was also required to fill out the disclosure form. Like Sewell and Campbell, Tippett wrote "none" where the form asked for the names of those he had collected campaign contributions from. He attached an explanation that said he delivered bundles of contribution checks to the campaign in Raleigh, but he did not collect them from individual contributors. He said in an interview that he did not look to see who wrote the checks or the amounts.
Tippett said his disclosure was a "textbook" example of complying with the law.
Tippett was a member of the Cumberland County steering committee for the campaign, which held two fundraising events. In an interview, Tippett said that he helped organize at least one fundraiser, which Easley attended. He said he had a file on the fundraiser, but he couldn't remember what it contained. He said he didn't know if the file was still available.
"I don't know if it's still there," he said. "The shredder came through town a few months ago and shredded all the files whether it was personal or business. I have no idea at the moment."
The transportation secretary also said it was not his concern what board members reported regarding their fundraising.
"They don't report that to me, so I don't have a problem with that," Tippett said. "Not my issue."
Easley named Sewell and McRae to two of the five newly created at-large seats on the board. Though the three other at-large members were required to have "expertise" in environmental issues, mass transit or government-related finance and accounting, the two seats Sewell and McRae took did not have to meet that requirement. Sewell had to have only "broad knowledge of and experience in transportation issues affecting rural areas." McRae had to be "familiar with the State ports and aviation issues."
The reform law requires Sewell, McRae and the other at-large members to represent the interests of the entire state. But records of an economic development discretionary fund that lawmakers created in 2005 shows that Sewell, McRae and another at-large member, Larry Helms of Union County, have so far directed their allotments -- a total of $5.5 million -- to their home transportation districts. Original article ...
News and Observer
December 29, 2007
Dan Kane, Staff Writer
Highway Patrol to get outside advice
A team of law enforcement experts will visit the N.C. Highway Patrol in January to review what has gone wrong in an agency that only last year was found to be one of the nation's top police forces.
Experts with an international consulting firm will consider a baffling string of incidents in the past several months. They range from a trooper accused of abducting Hispanic women and making sexual advances to an internal affairs captain who rear-ended a vehicle and wrongly let a subordinate investigate the wreck. The only apparent pattern in each case is a lack of good judgment.
N.C. Troopers Association leaders as well as Bryan Beatty, the crime control and public safety secretary, say the incidents are isolated cases in a force of more than 1,800 sworn officers. But despite efforts to re-emphasize professionalism and keep a closer eye on troopers, officers continue to get into trouble.
"Frankly, I don't know what's going on in their minds -- some of these troopers and what they are doing," said Sgt. Steve Lockhart, vice president of the association. "It just dumbfounds me." Read more...
Asphalt Contractor magazine
October 30th, 2007
Failed concrete overlay milled, replaced with HMA
A failing concrete overlay on I-40 near Raleigh-Durham, NC, was determined by the North Carolina DOT to be in need of replacement. The specifications for the project provided that the concrete overlay be removed by cold-milling and replaced with hot mix asphalt (HMA) each night.
The Lane Construction Corporation was awarded the $21-million project for the North Carolina DOT, and has undertaken the milling, while its Rea Contracting LLC affiliate performed the HMA placement on strict nightly schedules.
"We're grinding anywhere from 3 to 3.5 inches of concrete overlay off the Interstate using a Wirtgen W 2200 cold mill with full lane, 12-foot 6-inch drum," says J. Todd Moore, superintendent of the I-40 project for Lane. "We have approximately 21 lineal miles to do, two lanes eastbound, and two lanes westbound, as well as all off ramps and acceleration lanes."
The existing pavement is three lanes wide each way, with the third (inside) lane made of full-depth concrete, recently reconstructed. The concrete overlay being removed had been placed over existing Portland cement concrete and was experiencing spalling at the joints, and patched "blow-out" potholes where heavy traffic was pulling material from the pavement.
"We have about 290,000 square yards of concrete removal required for this project," says Richard Snow, P.E., construction manager for Lane. "Our average pace of 2,200 lineal feet per night of lane works out to about 2,700 square yards. On weekends we do a lot more with our marathon closures. While we still keep one lane open, we are able to keep the two lanes closed 56 hours straight."
"We're finding both conventional and high early-strength concrete in the overlay, but the W 2200 is chewing right through it all," Moore says. "We've used the W 2200 for scarifying concrete as well, but this 3.5-inch-deep cut is more of a test for the machine during the four hours we work each night."
New open-space tooth pattern
A new open-spaced tooth pattern drum design which applies more horsepower per tooth, but with fewer teeth, was being used on this cold mill.
"We're using Wirtgen teeth with 1.25-inch spacing of teeth on the drum, with some 130 teeth on the drum," Moore says. "We're not using up as many teeth on the drum as before, but it's grinding up the concrete more efficiently, and pulling the material off the existing concrete. It's coming up in a little bit larger chunks, and the milling is more efficient. It's leaving a nice pattern on the pavement, and both the state and the paving contractor are well-pleased."
Nonetheless, Moore and his crews have experimented with the right configuration for the drum and machine.
"At one time we slowed the cutter drum down, but had no success with increasing footage, because teeth were breaking off as the drum was going slower, and not keeping up," he says. "We brought it back to its original speed - about 21 feet per minute, and now things are rolling. Because we're limited at night to what can be repaved before rush hour, I'll open up anywhere from 2,000 to 2,600 feet, depending on how tight the concrete is in our four-hour period."
Thus a given night would see Lane begin milling after 8 p.m. and conclude about midnight, with Rea Contracting paving the next four to five hours, with the last hour striping and removal of the traffic control pattern. "We have to be off the Interstate by 6 a.m., with penalties of $10,000 per hour," Moore says.
Superpave replaces concrete
The concrete overlay was being replaced by two lifts of a Superpave mix, PG 76-24 polymer modified binder, with 9.5 D mm aggregate. The first was a 2-inch lift, followed by a 1.5-inch lift on top to bring to grade. The HMA was provided by Rea Contracting out of its Northern Raleigh plant. North Carolina DOT specified a material transfer vehicle be used between truck and paver.
At midnight, the milling and paving supervisors meet to run numbers as to how far the milling can go that night, so both crews can finish their jobs that morning.
"We see how far we will mill, so we can finish milling and Rea can finish paving, all at a happy medium," Moore says. "We also have to figure in cutter tooth changes, and that will slow us down a little. Right now we do a complete cutter tooth change every 1,000 to 1,100 feet; the more efficiently we can change the 130 milling teeth, and install new ones, the faster we can get back to work."
Lane's complete tooth change using Wirtgen quick-change toolholders will take about 15 minutes.
Hydro-sweeping and infrared drying
Following the W 2200, a standard street sweeper was cleaning the milled surface, followed by a contract hydrovacuum truck which was water-blasting any remaining material off the surface, and vacuuming it into a tank for disposal.
"We're picking up the heavy stuff with the sweeper, and then we have a 36,000 psi-capable hydrovac truck clean the pavement with sprayed water, and vacuum up the water and any fines," Moore says. "This surface has to be totally spotless before we apply our tack coat."
And because the surface has to be bone-dry before the tack coat - and not much time in which to dry - Lane was using an infrared heater truck with generator to dry the milled surface prior to tack and overlay. "The truck has two 195-mph blower fans which blow off any standing water, and heating coils which evaporate any remaining moisture."
Lane's W 2200 with full-lane width drum was giving Lane the power and reliability it needed to keep this project on schedule and in budget.
Moore was finding that the new Eco-Cutter drum from Wirtgen was keeping the job moving along with accrued savings from use of fewer teeth. "This is the first application for which we've used this full-lane drum," Moore says. "This application is nice for the full-lane drum because it's one lane, one way, without having to back up and go. And the drum has a coarser pattern to it. My feeling is, 'the coarser, the better', because the asphalt can hold tighter in the voids than it can in a smoother surface."
Fewer cutting tools on the new Eco-Drum means less resistance to cutting and a higher rate of advance, with lower tool costs per milled cubic yard. These drums, with smaller number of point attack tools, make sure work proceeds more quickly and cost-efficiently.
Despite the fact that the standard-width Eco-Cutter may equipped with only 114 cutting tools, its performance with 1-inch tool spacing is roughly 20 percent higher than that of a standard milling drum with 0.6-inch tool spacing when working in hard asphalt and at a milling depth of 8 inches.
About the Wirtgen W 2200
The W 2200 is designed for big, continuous cold milling projects in which a pavement must be removed mile after mile. The high-horsepower, deep-cutting, high-production
W 2200 lets users mill large projects in a short period of time.
The W 2200 has a standard cutting width of 87 inches, four large D-6 crawler tracks, a milling drum with a high-efficiency mechanical belt drive, and an efficient front-loading system. It has a mechanically driven milling drum and two-part slewing front-end discharge conveyor of variable height. The machine travels on crawler tracks. Robust welded construction with mounts for the individual function modules and superstructures. The tanks for diesel fuel and water are integrated into the chassis. The hydraulic fluid tank forms a separate unit.
Its maximum cutting depth is 14 inches and with the optional Flexible Cutter System, can cut up to 14 feet 1 inch wide. The W 2200 has an operating weight of 96,342 pounds with a 900-hp power plant.
The walk-through operator's platform with access ladder on each side is located in the middle part of the machine. It is equipped with two identical control consoles which can be pivoted and vertically adjusted. Both control consoles and the right-hand driver's seat can be displaced outwards beyond the edge of the machine. The steering and feed control operate with electrical proportional action and are controlled via joysticks.
The Wirtgen information and diagnosis system - called the WIDIS 32 - provides the driver with comprehensive up-to-the-minute information on the current status of the engine and hydraulic system and generates visual and acoustic alarms when necessary. The crawler tracks are suspended from the chassis via round cylinders, the height of which can be adjusted hydraulically. The height of each crawler track can be adjusted individually. The height required for the milling depth is adjusted via the two cylinders at the front, while the rear crawler tracks form a full floating axle. The large lift ensures considerable ground clearance simplifying such difficult maneuvers as reversing or loading and unloading the machine from a low-bed truck.
News and Observer
September 29, 2007
Bruce Siceloff, Staff Writer
Consultants review of DOT under wraps
McKinsey & Co. was asked to prepare a sweeping evaluation of the transportation agency, but DOT and the company are keeping a tight rein on the information
State Department of Transportation officials are paying a consultant $2.5 million to help make the agency more responsive, accountable and transparent.
They are keeping much of the work secret.
Attorneys for DOT and McKinsey & Co., an international management consultant hired in April to evaluate DOT, blacked out several pages of contract details and stamped other pages "CONFIDENTIAL" before DOT released them to The News & Observer.
Other contract documents indicate that McKinsey initially was asked for a candid, sweeping assessment of DOT's "strategic direction and organizational structure." It was expected to file reports in May and June.
DOT has declined to release a word of its consultant's findings. The April 11 contract includes an unusual pledge that DOT will seek McKinsey's permission before making public references to McKinsey or releasing any "reports, analyses or other such materials" it receives from McKinsey.
DOT officials now say they did not request or receive any written reports from McKinsey, whose contract ends in mid-October. Read more...