“We tried to get too much work done in too tight a time frame,” says VDOT deputy Chief Charlie Kilpatrick.
Kilpatrick says the decision to shut down both the JRB and HRBT to the Southside for repairs at the same time was a bad one.
“Delivering a project on time and on budget is never an excuse for making a bad decision,” says Kilpatrick.
When NewsChannel 3 warned drivers about the work before it happened, VDOT officials said both bridges had to be repaired at the same time.
Now VDOT is changing the repair schedule after many people sat in Monitor Merrimac traffic for several hours.
“It seems like we were misled about the necessity to do them on the same weekends,” said NewsChannel 3’s Jessica Larche.
“We made the decision that we may have to push projects off further than we wanted to that may delay projects that would not be delivered on time as we advertised to the public,” replied Kilpatrick.
During this morning’s news conference, Kilpatrick outlined what went wrong.
He says VDOT didn’t do a good enough traffic analysis to figure out how bad back-ups would be.
“While work was done, it was not done to the level that I would expect for the closure of a major facility,” says Kilpatrick.
Kilpatrick also said VDOT did not communicate well enough with localities about their own closures.
On top of that, he says there wasn’t enough notification of the crossing closures across the commonwealth.
He put the blame on Hampton Roads District Administrator Dennis Heuer but did not say if they’ll reprimand him.
“He remains in his current role, but I asked him not to be here today because I don`t want the focus to be on Dennis, I wanted the focus to be on VDOT,” says Kilpatrick.