Motorists questioning pothole patches and standards of safety following massive potholes appearing in Vernon

Questioning pothole patch

Over a month after massive potholes appeared along Highway 97 near Okanagan College, impacted drivers are wondering why they need to pay for poor road maintenance.

“When you're driving on the road, you expect the road to be up to provincial standards of safety,” said Michele Herceg, an affected driver.

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure says local maintenance contractors are “continually identifying and repairing potholes as part of their daily duties."

Herceg says her car wheel “snapped” in two places and its bumper was damaged after her daughter hit one of the potholes in the afternoon on Jan. 23. Her daughter is the registered driver of the vehicle and couldn't avoid the potholes because she was "boxed in" by traffic, says Herceg.

She says she’s paid thousands out of pocket to fix her vehicle and is now waiting to find out exactly what ICBC will cover.

Genevieve Daniel was also an unlucky motorist whose vehicle was damaged from the potholes on Jan. 23. She’s questioning how the road is being repaired, as fixes don’t seem to stick.

MOTI told Castanet that the potholes were fixed the night of Jan. 23, but opened up again the next morning.

“That hole has been exposed many times over and over again, like that same area was exposed in the summertime,” claims Daniel.

“It's not a new issue, it's an old issue. And however they've been fixing the road, it's not been sticking.”

The Ministry previously told Castanet that AIM Roads would make a more permanent repair the last week of January using an asphalt hot mix, "subject to weather and the road drying out". When asked about the repair the week it was meant to be fixed MOTI said there was nothing new to report.

Both Herceg and Daniel have reported the incident to the police, something Herceg says she was instructed to do by ICBC. Neither women have taken their claims to AIM Roads yet, but both say they’re willing to.

“The ministry takes seriously claims regarding damage from potholes,” says MOTI adding that claim information can be found online.

“In addition to their insurance coverage, drivers who believe damage is a result of negligence can submit a claim to the ministry. Claims are forwarded to the contractor, and there is an appeal process.”

Herceg posted in the Vernon Rant and Rave Facebook group asking for other people affected by the potholes that day to reach out to her. So far, she says, 10 people have reached out. Some of whom have said they’ve been told they're not eligible for compensation from AIM because the road's been fixed.

Herceg says she’s hoping to get a group together of the people affected by the potholes and work together to get fair treatment.

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