July 10, 2019 5:24 pm
Updated: July 12, 2019 6:39 am

N.S. motorist frustrated after $1,500 pothole repair claim denied by the province

WATCH: A driver says that three of her car tires were blown after hitting a pot-hole. However, the province refuses to pay for any damage. Jesse Thomas explains.

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Four brand new tires, an alignment job and tow to a local garage has cost one motorist more than $1,500 in repairs, after hitting what she described as an “unavoidable” pothole.

Karen Cole moved from Ontario to Halifax last month, and while making the more than 2,000-kilometre drive she hit a pothole along highway 102 near the Dunbrack Street overpass, which forced the driver to pull over and call for a tow-truck.

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“I came upon two large, deep potholes,” said Cole.  “I managed to get around one, but the other was in front of it. I had absolutely nowhere to go.”

READ MORE: ‘Hundreds’ of potholes on one Halifax street alone, taxi driver says

The impact blew both driverside tires and damaged the front passenger side wheel as well, and threw off the cars alignment to the point she couldn’t even drive the car.

“I had extensive damage and had to get a tow truck,” she said.

“These potholes were so deep and so large that it blew the reinforced wall on the run-flat wheels and it also damaged my rims.”

Cole immediately filed a vehicle damage claim with the province of Nova Scotia and nearly 30 days later she received a letter in the mail saying her claim was denied because the pothole in question didn’t exceed the service standards for repair — which in this case is 14 days following report of the pothole.

“I was told by the claims officer that a report was put in at the end of May and so that shows you that almost a week went by and that pothole wasn’t fixed,” she said.

Frustrated by the claim-denial, Cole said the pothole reporting process and repair protocol needs to change, and that the province is to blame.

Now that summer is here, it’s looking like this past winter and spring was an exceptional year for potholes.

Mark Peachey is the executive director with the Nova Scotia department of transportation. He said it appears the number of pothole reports were up compared to recent years due to the climate we live in.

READ MORE: A thousand potholes left on Halifax Regional Municipality’s spring repair list

“This particular winter that just passed and into the spring turned out to be an exceptional one, based on the number of freeze-thaw cycles we had and the temperature going above and below zero was significant this year,” said Peachey. “Which obviously exacerbates the number and speed with which we get our potholes being created.”

Potholes are not only part of the environment, but a way of doing business for those in the auto repair industry and Bill Campbell agrees, this year has been significant for potholes and so has been the damage on vehicles.

“This year it was a little bit worse, it seemed,” said Campbell who manages Cheapy Tire on Windmill Road in Dartmouth.

“The potholes it seemed were a little more deeper and more severe and uglier. But it’s a common thing here with the freeze and thaw cycles, you are going to have them,” he added.

As for Cole, she has just moved to Nova Scotia to find a job and said the whole pothole experience has been a bit of a rude welcoming.

“Tourism Nova Scotia’s slogan right now is, ‘Do More In Nova Scotia’, I could do a lot more in Nova Scotia if I had fifteen hundred dollars in my pocket.”

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