Speed bumps across Charlotte backlogged after overuse of materials, CDOT says

CDOT currently has a backlog of 160 speed-cushion petitions.
The city is backlogged by 160 speed bumps, according to CDOT.
Published: May. 26, 2022 at 5:12 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Speed bumps or speed cushions, no matter what you call them, they’re supposed to help slow cars as they drive down neighborhood streets.

But a WBTV investigation found if you ask for one on your street in Charlotte, you’re going to have to wait a long time.

“His words to me were, ‘it has no expiration date even if it takes up to five years,’” Catherine Nimmons said. “And I’m thinking up to five years? By then, you pray not but there could be a fatality.”

Nimmons knows a thing or two about safety in her neighborhood. She started her neighborhood watch, got the speed limit in her neighborhood reduced to 25 mph, and raised her children along Katherine Kiker Road in northeast Charlotte.

So when she noticed a few people with dangerous driving habits in her community she knew something needed to be done.

“They’re probably doing 45, 50, and sometimes even more,” Nimmons said.

She and a few neighbors started the petition process to get a couple of speed cushions installed in their neighborhood.

Their road qualified, it’s two lanes and has a speed limit of 25 mph, and they got enough signatures on the petition. The city approved it and then...nothing. Since March of last year, they’ve waited.

“We do pay tax dollars so where are my tax dollars going?” Nimmons said.

In April, Nimmons saw a report on a WBTV newscast and decided to call in with her concern about the city dragging its feet, much to her disappointment.

“It should not have come to the point where we are reaching out to the news media,” Nimmons said.

After that phone call, we got to work and learned some important information.

According to the Charlotte Department of Transportation, they have a backlog of 160 speed-cushion petitions. Two projects have been approved, but in a typical year, the city only installs 20. So, how did Charlotte end up having a backlog of projects like this?

“The backlog is kind of a result of many circumstances coming together and not in the best of fashions” Angela Berry, CDOT traffic safety manager, said.

Berry says a swift departure of her predecessor and the contract company, AWP Inc., meant the right information wasn’t shared and caused speed cushions to be installed incorrectly.

“He’s overused some pieces and not used other pieces that should have been used so I’m trying to correct the pieces that have been overused and make enough so we can get these 30 locations off our backlog,” Berry said.

The overuse of some materials left the city short-handed for other projects. To fix this they plan to use up the material they have left, part ways with AWP Inc., and begin building speed cushions with asphalt under a new contractor.

“I know these citizens are very concerned,” Berry said. “They worked very hard to get these approved for their neighborhoods and I really want to give them to them but I want to make sure it’s done correctly.”

If all goes well the city plans to have the backlog cleared by this fall.

“I will move heaven and earth to clear this list,” Berry said.

Good news for Catherine who says she would have rather heard it from the city than from us.

“When we reach out to those persons who should implement those things that provide safety and you get no results what does that say? That says you don’t care.” Nimmons said.

To install a pre-formed rubber speed cushion it costs the city about $2,000. CDOT told WBTV, they do not know what the price tag would be for one made of asphalt.

Related: Mecklenburg Co. awarded $6.1 million contract to improve county roads

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