Pothole problems cost Albuquerque thousands in damages

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – According to the City of Albuquerque, they have paid out over $70,000 over the last five years in damages to drivers with claims that poor road conditions have damaged their cars or caused bodily injuries.

In a list obtained by KRQE News 13 from the city’s Risk Management Department, the list shows the majority of claims because of poor road conditions are due to potholes. In the last six months, the data also shows claims have been filed from drivers citing damage from Albuquerque Rapid Transit construction.

Out of the nearly 300 claims, less than 15 percent were paid out. The city said the majority weren’t paid out because they weren’t liable for the damage sustained in those reported situations. The city said that’s because a report needs to have been previously filed on a problem before it caused damage to a person or vehicle. They said that also allows them, within 48 hours from the filing of the report, to go out and fix the problem.

Sinkholes are another major problem, one where an entire car can be swallowed up. That’s what happened two years ago on Indian School in Uptown Albuquerque after a water pipe gave out. Those claims go the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority. In the Indian School case, that driver’s claim was denied because representatives from the Water Authority said the sinkhole was barricaded. That driver is now suing for the damage as well as for pain and suffering.

“In situations where we have done all that we can do to ensure public safety and someone goes against our recommendations for safety, then in situations like that, then we would deny the claim,” said David Morris, spokesperson for ABCWUA.

One of the most common ways for the city to find out about potholes is from drivers making 311 calls and using the 311 phone application.

Money for roadwork is getting harder and harder to come by. That’s one of the reasons the Albuquerque City Council could put a 2-cent a gallon gas tax hike on the ballot this year. That is expected to raise more than $4-million a year for road work.

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