I have a little experience with CalTrans with this type of compliant. It is all about who is filling the "Official" request for change that gets added to the log of shit for the DOT to get money to fix. Before the DOT can have the guys in trucks show up to do anything, they have to have approval so they can pay for materials and labor and the head engineer's office that has to take responsibility for the repair. It seems overkill but it is the only to manage a project backlog of 100,000 items.
In my case I saw that a protected turn light and a pedestrian walk signal would give cars the right of way to run over anyone in the crosswalk that was crossing when indicated. I went to the DOT office and filed a compliant, but since I did not work for the city's or county's public works office, I didn't have the authority to file an official complaint. So I went to the city's public works office and they went and looked at it and saw that it did not meet code and filed a compliant on behalf of the city. The guy in the article probably skipped this step therefore making the DOT guy look like an Asshat.