OPINION ISSUED JULY 21, 1987
RUTH ANN COOPER
DEPARTMENT OF HIGHWAYS
Claimant appeared in person.
Nancy J. Aliff, Attorney at Law, for respondent.
On December 22, 1986, at approximately 8:00 p.m., claimant was
operating her 1986 Buick
Regal on Route 3, in Boone County. The vehicle was approximately 10
miles from Racine when
it ran through a pothole damaging the rim, hubcap, and tire in the
Claimant testified that Route 3 is a two-land, blacktop road. It
dark and dry at the time of
this incident. She stated that she was operating her headlights.
is a berm of perhaps one
and one-half feet at the location of this incident. Mrs. Cooper
testified that there was a series of
potholes near the berm on the right side of the road, which
dodged prior to the vehicle
striking the pothole which damaged her automobile. She stated that
pothole was 15-20
inches wide, 25 inches in length, and 8-9 inches deep. She does not
travel this route frequently
and was unaware of how long this particular hole had been in
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 highways.
case of a heavily
travelled, major highway in this State, the Court has held
liable for failure to repair a
pothole of this size as it cannot have developed overnight. See:
vs. Dept. of Highways,
12 Ct.Cl. 259 (1979) and Bolyard vs. Dept. of Highways, CC-86-195
December 12, 1986). The pothole is of such dimensions that the
respondent had constructive
notice. The Court, therefore, makes an award to claimants in the
Award of $210.81.