OPINION ISSUED FEBRUARY 14, 1989
DEPARTMENT OF HIGHWAYS
Claimant appeared in person.
Nancy J. Aliff, Attorney at Law, for respondent.
On October 24, 1987, claimant was travelling south on Route 19 on
Osage Bridge in
Monongalia County when her vehicle struck debris on the bridge. She
seeks $56.69 for the cost
of a new tire as her tire was damaged in this incident.
Claimant testified that she was proceeding in her 1984 Buick
the time of this
incident. She was coming from her home in Fairview and travelling
place of work at West
Virginia University Hospital in Morgantown. She is a registered
the intensive care unit at
the hospital. This is her regular route, but she had not driven it
week. She stated that Route
19 is a two-lane highway. At the time of this incident one lane was
barricaded. It was 6:40 a.m.
and it was dark.
As she approached the bridge, there were two cars in front of her
had stopped. She
started around a barricade that had been hit previously. There were
pieces of debris scattered
over the bridge on both sides. She attempted to avoid these, but
right rear tire caught a piece
of the debris. She described the debris as being "... wood but it
white and shiny ... ." After
the accident, she did not go back and examine the debris.
William F. Fieldhouse, Maintenance Supervisor for Monongalia County for
that he was familiar with the accident site. There was construction
being performed by
respondent in that area. The witness thought that the work was with
bridge expansion joints
at each end of the bridge. During the day signs and flagmen were
utilized. At night signs and
flashing lights were utilized. He called sometime after midnight on
day of this incident and
alerted to the fact that the barricades had been damaged. He
a crew to the bridge
site, and, to his knowledge, it was repaired between 2:00 and 3:00
Prior to claimant's
accident, he was unaware that there was any difficulty with the way
the signs and barricades
were set up.
The evidence in this record indicates that the defective condition
the barricade appeared
suddenly and that the respondent promptly moved to repair the
soon as it became
aware of this problem. Moore vs. Dept. of Highways, CC-85-153
Banhart vs. Dept. of Highways, 12 Ct.Cl. 236 (1979). Adkins vs.
130 W.Va. 645, 46
S.E.2d 81 (1947), holds that the State is neither an insurer nor a
guarantor of the safety of the
motorists on its highways. The Court is of the opinion that
on the part of the
respondent has not been established, and therefore, the Court