Potholes costing you
BATON ROUGE - They tend to pop up unexpectedly and there's often no time to avoid them. Potholes form in asphalt after water seeps into the soil underneath and traffic passes over the failing area. It's no surprise to Baton Rouge drivers that potholes vary in size, but big or small can cause damage to their vehicles.
Monique Burdette was driving home earlier this year on Sherwood Forest when she hit a pothole. Her rim was damaged and needed replacing. She called the city's 3-1-1 Call Center and someone answered to help solve her concern.
After a couple weeks, she became one of the few to get her car bill paid for.
In East Baton Rouge, the Department of Public Works has a system in place to pay some drivers for the damage, but there's some fine print. Baton Rouge will only pay if there is prior knowledge of the pothole before a person hits it. That means, Burdette wasn't the first person to call about that pothole.
"They appeared to have knowledge of the pothole because when I told her about it she said, 'Oh, okay I know where that is,'" said Burdette.
The city footed the $174.69 bill. Other drivers, don't get the same quick action.
"My tire was busted and there was a dent in my rim," said Baton Rouge driver Dionne Turner.
Dionne Turner hit a pothole near Government and Jefferson Hwy. She also called the 3-1-1 Call Center, but her bill wasn't take care of the same way.
"He says, 'Well, I'm looking and I don't think we knew about this particular pothole and just with that alone your claim will probably be denied,'" she relayed to WBRZ.
Turner is part of the majority, a claim that went unpaid and out $156.74.
Paperwork obtained by News Two paints a clearer picture. In 2013, one out of 12 claims filed with the city were paid out. In 2014 and so far in 2015, one out of seven claims were paid out. The numbers are shocking to those who call the city and file a claim.
"It does shock me," said Burdette. "I know I was treated well but like I said I want everyone to be treated like that."
"I think it's ridiculous. We pay taxes, the roads should be taken care of," said Turner.
So far, in the last three years, of 760 claims filed, 94 have been paid out by the city's risk management, which comes to about $50,000 in taxpayer dollars.
Both women interviewed by WBRZ say the potholes they hit were repaired within days of filing their claim.