OPINION ISSUED DECEMBER 12, 1986
DEPARTMENT OF HIGHWAYS
Claimant appeared in person.
Nancy J. Aliff, Attorney at Law, for respondent.
On February 17., 1986, claimant was operating his 1983 Dodge truck
on Route 60, between 9:00 and 10:00 a.m., in the vicinity of
Campbell's Creek, Kanawha County, when his vehicle struck several
potholes. Damage to the
vehicle resulted in the amount of $122.11.
According to the testimony of claimant, it was daylight and
Claimant was driving at
approximately 20 miles per hour in the right lane of the four-lane
highway. In an attempt to avoid
hitting holes at this location, claimant drove to the left, and his
vehicle struck a large, water-filled
hole. He estimated the hole to be two feet long, 14 inches deep,
Claimant testified that he travelled this route frequently. He had
workers repairing holes in the opposite lanes of Route 60 two days
before this incident
occurred. He had not reported the hole to respondent.
This Court has repeatedly held that respondent is neither an
nor a guarantor of the
safety of travellers on its highways. However, the respondent does
a duty of using
reasonable care and diligence in the maintenance of its ways. In
case of a heavily travelled
major highway in this State, the Court has held respondent liable for
failure to repair a pothole
of this size, as it cannot have developed overnight. See Lohan v.
of Highways, 11 Ct.Cl.
39 (1975), Poole v. Dept. of Highways, 15 ct.cl. 65 (1983). The
therefore makes an
award to claimant in the amount of $122.11.
Award of $122.11.