New Development in Investigation of High-Dollar Highways - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

NewsChannel 5 Investigates: High-Dollar Highways

New Development in Investigation of High-Dollar Highways

(Story created: 4/20/05)

Federal and state agents are now focusing on a Middle Tennessee highway contractor, and what may have been a scheme that put you and your family's lives in danger.

The allegations are all laid out in an internal audit obtained by NewsChannel 5.

The report was just completed by the state Department of Transportation, and immediately turned over to law enforcement authorities.

At the center of the investigation is a Kingston Springs company called LU, Inc.

The company has a $1.8 million contract to repair guardrails in Middle Tennessee.

But investigators discovered that LU's employees were cutting off the guardrail supports so they wouldn't have to do the hard work of digging holes as deeply as required by TDOT.

The report says the state is still investigating other allegations, including allegations that LU work crews intentionally damaged multiple guardrails to get paid by TDOT, and that LU does not worry because "they have TDOT in their back pocket."

The internal audit concludes that "With the approval of LU management and a company officer, employees installed guardrail terminals that did not meet TDOT specifications."

One inspector concluded, "The probable results of a transverse collision would result in failure to contain a vehicle, and/or severe pocketing, resulting from failure of the supporting posts."

The audit says the company's top management and employees also admitted charging the state for equipment and work that was not performed.

The document even lays out specific crimes that the company and its employees may have committed. Some of them are felonies.

Officials said they are trying to gather as much information as possible before taking the next step in this case.

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