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Loose gravel damages cars along construction zone

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BATON ROUGE - A road construction project along LA 19 has some drivers annoyed at how the work space has been kept. Mainly, the complaints involve flying rocks creating damage to paint and windows.

Nicole Strauss says she was driving to work last week when an 18-wheeler drove past her, causing rocks to fly up and hit her car.

"Just pelted the entire car," said Strauss.

The asphalt overlay of concrete pavement project on LA 19 began in November 2017. Strauss says at the time, there were plenty of rocks on the road.

"Rocks were just flying, it was scary," she said.

There are a handful of chips on her windshield and even more chips to her freshly-painted car. Strauss paid out of pocket for a new paint job in September.

"It's only four and a half months old so none of these things were there before," she said.

It's one of the reasons why Strauss is so angry it happened and says the crew contracted to do the work should have taken more precautions.

Along the construction zone stretch, there are signs alerting drivers of "loose gravel." The Department of Transportation and Development says it did receive a complaint last week and asked the contractor, Barriere Construction Co., LLC, to "make an extra effort to sweep up any loose gravel."

Additionally, the contractor lowers the speed limit during lane closures.

"Common sense would tell you that you that you should go slower if there's loose gravel, but not everybody has that these days," said Strauss.

While Strauss agrees the situation is better than it was last week, she's wondering what is going to happen with her car and other drivers that are in the same boat.

DOTD says if a driver received damage to their car in the LA 19 construction zone, they can file a claim. The phone numbers to file a claim can be found here.

Strauss has already started the claims process with the state and she also filed a police report. She's learned at least five people she works with have experienced damage to their cars in the same construction zone. The Baton Rouge Police Department says two reports have been filed.

Construction along LA 19 is estimated to be completed by summer 2018.

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