NORFOLK--Dozens of emails obtained by 13News under the Freedom of Information Act show while drivers were dodging potholes on 264, behind the scenes, V-Dot officials clearly were scrambling to deal with a serious and embarrassing road repair issue and a PR nightmare.
The emails show not just V-Dot's struggles to its arms around the repairs, but also how to explain the agency's failures to the public and how to deal with what some very close to the problem clearly felt was mismanagement.
The most telling email exchange we found was between Commonwealth Transportation Board Member Aubrey Layne and V-Dot Commissioner, Greg Whirley.
In the email dated February 9th, Layne offers Whirley his take on the pothole repair mess telling Whirley a press release had pointed out, 'contractors would be on sight all weekend...' Yet Lane tells Whirley he just drove the interstate, 'and there was no work being performed.'
Lane tells Whirley, 'Quite frankly, this is a management failure.' 'If we are not holding the contractor accountable, we should be.'
As for the poor pothole repair work, Lane says, 'We should have known this situation would happen.' 'Temporary patches do not hold up under wet and cold conditions.' Lane goes on to tell Whirley, 'That's the excuse we are telling the public, yet we did not prepare for what we knew would happen.'
Later Layne tells the V-DOT Commissioner, 'We did not even close the highway in a timely manner when asked by the state police.'
And Layne tells Whirley, 'I don't know if this is related to management structure, leadership, personnel or some combination of the above, but we need to recognize this is a management issue and self inflicted.'