Pothole problems come early, dynamic freeze and thaw cycle partly to blame

Drivers report vehicle damage to NewsChannel5

EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio - The dramatic temperature changes thus far this winter seem to have taken an early toll on northeast Ohio roads.

Dozens of drivers have contacted NewsChannel5 about pothole vehicle damage, weeks earlier than normal.

5 On Your Side responded to specific complaints about a sinkhole on Euclid Avenue in East Cleveland. Drivers told NewsChannel5 they'll be filing damage claims with the city law department.

The East Cleveland Street Department has taken action, filling the sinkhole with gravel, but East Cleveland residents like Dennis Jefferson report the temporary fix is no fix at all.

"It's a serious problem and it's tearing up a lot of peoples cars," said Jefferson. "Now they fixed it a couple times, but as you can see it hasn't been done right, otherwise Mr. Pagonakis wouldn't be here today."

5 On Your Side took the case to East Cleveland Chief of Staff Collette Clinkscale. Clinkscale assured NewsChannel5 a permanent solution to the Euclid Avenue sinkhole is on the way in the coming weeks.

"We're actually working with the Cleveland water department," explained Clinkscale. "We think there is something underground that is contributing to that sinkhole; it's likely a water main issue."

Clinkscale is urging drivers to file a report with East Cleveland City Hall if they believe a pothole caused damage to their vehicles.

"Make a police report, that's the first thing, then follow up with a compliant with the law department. Drivers should have photographs and everything."

Drivers should include pictures of the damage and at least two written repair estimates when filing a damage claim.

In most cases a city can only be held liable for pothole damage if it has received complaints about a hole and did nothing to make repairs.

Motorists should be diligent and follow up often on pending claims, but keep in mind claims can take more than 90 days to process.

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