5 On Your Side

Pothole payouts depend on you

Posted May 19, 2015
Updated May 20, 2015

Jason Bone needed two new tires and rims after hitting a crater-like pothole on Lake Wheeler Road in Raleigh that he had seen before but never reported.

“Both my tires went in that hole, and as soon as it happened, it blew out and it actually kind of jerked me off the road a little bit,” he said.

The price tag for his new wheels and rims was a hefty $750.

Howard Road in north Raleigh is another place where plenty of drivers get socked by a pothole.

"We did hear one that hit it hard enough that we heard the ‘pssst’ afterwards that you knew their tire had blown,” said Angie Ferree, who lives on the street.

The repairs add up for blown tires, damaged rims and alignments, and many people think the state or local government responsible for the road should pay for the repairs.

However, a 5 On Your Side review of claims from drivers shows that doesn't happen very often.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation maintains the most miles of roads in the state. Since 2013, the department has received 716 road-related claims covering everything from potholes to guardrail accidents.

The department paid on 52 claims, or 7 percent.

The Town of Cary had five claims and didn’t pay any.

The City of Raleigh paid four out of 34 claims, or 11 percent, while the City of Durham paid eight out of 63 claims, or 13 percent.

"What determines whether or not we pay those claims is did we have prior knowledge and we didn't respond to it in a reasonable amount of time,” said Chris McGee, who oversees road work for the City of Raleigh. "We don't pay many claims because we basically patch about 97, 98 percent of what we get in a 24-hour period."

But crews can't patch potholes if they don't know about them.

“What we would encourage folks to do is before you hit it – and you did avoid it – go ahead and call us and tell us. You may keep somebody else from hitting it."

Bone wishes he had called. The NC Attorney General’s Office denied his claim, saying the state was not at fault, since the pothole hadn’t been reported.

Go online to report potholes and other problems in Raleigh, Durham, Cary and the state.


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  • Michael Hunt May 25, 2015
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    View quoted thread

    I like the idea. And include County employees such as Sheriffs. There are several technologies out there the allow a driver to just click and icon to report things such as road debris / potholes etc etc...

  • Michael Hunt May 25, 2015
    user avatar

    Yes respond in a reasonable amount of time. Now that I see the site I will report them when I see them... Everyone should do the same.

  • Jenna Moore May 20, 2015
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    It does leave one wondering--how do we know that it was not reported? I've reported them before and seen them to weeks before being repaired. There was a HUGE one out by the airport a few years ago that went a month. I suppose all one can do is track what you report yourself.

  • Doug Hanthorn May 20, 2015
    user avatar

    I agree with the policy but I think it should be amended. The city should have to be able to prove that no city worker had driven past the pot hole before the accident occurred. You have to wonder how many city workers know about potholes and don't report them. The city should add reporting potholes to every city employees job requirements.

  • Paul Donovan May 20, 2015
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    This is the same policy that I have seen in the 6 states I have lived in or owned property in.

  • Ted DeBord May 19, 2015
    user avatar

    Your link to "State" at the end of the article is incorrect. It goes to Cary's web site.