Feb 15, 2022 - News

Dallas isn't inspecting road improvements, audit finds

A photo of a road resurfacing project in Dallas

Matilda Street is being resurfaced at University Boulevard. Photo: Tasha Tsiaperas/Axios

The City of Dallas isn't consistently monitoring or inspecting the quality of road improvements, according to a new 21-page audit.

Why it matters: The audit found the Department of Public Works doesn't always conduct strength testing to ensure the streets won't fail and doesn't regularly track the reason for construction cost overages.

  • The city paid more than $15 million above construction estimates for six road projects but didn't document the reason for the overage, according to the audit.

Details: The audit randomly selected 16 street maintenance and road resurfacing projects to analyze.

  • Only one of the project files had "evidence of required compression strength testing."
  • Only four of the projects showed daily progress reports, which include weather conditions, quality concerns and a summary of labor and equipment used.
  • And none detailed the construction schedule with enough detail for staff to ensure the work was completed on time.

What they're saying: Public works doesn't consistently review the amount of materials invoiced on projects.

  • "As such, there is an increased risk of fraudulent activities or improper payment to contractors," the audit said.

Yes, but: In a memo response to the audit, city manager T.C. Broadnax said public works will implement many, but not all, of the auditor's recommendations.

  • Broadnax said the city won't use the auditor's recommendation on improving the cost estimate of projects, noting that conducting field observations would require the city to hire five additional employees.

The bottom line: Dallas wants to compete with its northern suburbs and build a new multibillion-dollar convention center, but basic infrastructure remains a problem.


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