Insurance company denies pothole claim

Published 10:04 am Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A woman who filed an insurance claim after her car was damaged by a pothole on County Road 25 will not be reimbursed for the repair.

Rose “Susie” Markel, a Pedro resident who lives on County Road 25, had filed an insurance claim with The Ohio Plan, Lawrence County’s insurance provider, after her car’s struts were broken when she tried to navigate through a pothole.

The insurance company notified Markel last week by letter that it had denied her claim because potholes are common along the county’s hundreds of miles of roads, Markel said.

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Markel said she is disappointed with the outcome and would take legal action against the company but she cannot afford an attorney.

The car part and repair cost Markel about $130.

“It’s just an old junker car but it’s all I have and their roads tore it up,” Markel said.

Markel had also wanted the county to repair the road, which she said has been in poor condition for years.

County Engineer David Lynd said the county cannot afford to pave every unpaved road in the county — a process he said would cost about $200,000 for each mile.

Of the county’s nearly 400 miles of roads, about 100 miles have never been paved.

The exact cost of paving would depend on asphalt thickness and cost as well as road width.

Instead, the county plans to repair the road with chip sealing, a procedure that costs one fourth to one fifth of the cost of paving, according to a fact sheet from the Ohio Department of Transportation.

The county uses chip sealing on more than 40 miles of roads each year, he said.

Chip sealing is done with the same ingredients as paving, but the method is different, according to the ODOT fact sheet.

In the chip sealing process, a thin film of heated asphalt liquid is sprayed on the surface of the road followed by small aggregates that are compacted. Excess stone is then swept from the road’s surface.

Lynd said workers repair potholes before the chip sealing is done.

Each chip seal road has been repaired every other year since 1996, he said.

This year the crews will begin working in the Blackfork area during the third or fourth week in July and continue working through September.

“It’s one of those things. We’d like to be able to do what really needs to be done, pave all the roads, but we don’t have the money,” he said.