Potholes wreak havoc on cars and driver's wallets

Deep potholes cause more damage this year

CLEVELAND - Lewis Cabrera was forced to pay a visit to Downtown Safeway Tire on Superior Avenue Tuesday morning. He brought with him a damaged 22" rim that brought him to an abrupt stop in Lorain last night. With a blown out tire, the rim had been bent so badly air had rushed out after an impact with an unseen deep pothole.

"I just heard a loud noise and my car started riding rough so I parked it," said Cabrera. "Air came out instantly. It bent the back of the rim."

Safeway Tire is able to repair bent rims if they aren't too badly damaged. Cabrera was lucky Tuesday. After an initial cost of over $3000 for his set of new tires and wheels last fall, Cabrera had had four flat tires repaired in the last four months as potholes filled with water had frozen, expanded, growing deeper each month. This repair cost him under $90. His tire survived. This time.

Downtown Safeway Tire manager Warren Bradford said business there as a result of customers reporting pothole damage has increased this year from what is consistently a steady road-damage tire sales and repair business.

"Oh, at least 35% worse than it has been in the past. Which is a lot," said Bradford. "We've seen an increase in business over the last few months. Bigger potholes. Bigger rim damage. Bigger front-end damage. Bigger tire damage. It's just atrocious."

Early rush hour I-480 east bound commuters found themselves stuck in traffic if they were lucky. The unlucky ones hit a pothole just east of the W.130th exit hidden in the dark by the heavy rain and mist thrown up from fast moving cars prior to the pothole.

ODOT is responsible for pothole and highway repair on interstates such as I-480.

The state of Ohio has a website for drivers suffering damage to their vehicles to apply for compensation if it is found after an investigation that ODOT was negligent.

An ODOT spokesperson issued the following for those seeking information:

Folks that received damage can file a claim with the Ohio Court of Claims here, http://www.cco.state.oh.us/ .  Once a claim is filed, an investigation of the incident will take place and if it is determined that a claimant should be compensated for their vehicle damage processing of the payment take place.

It is important for motorists to know that this form is only for damage received on ODOT maintained routes, which include Interstate, State and US routes outside of incorporated areas.  Potholes on any city street should be directed to that respective city.

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