OPINION ISSUED FEBRUARY 3, 1989
JEANETTE E. STRAW
DEPARTMENT OF HIGHWAYS
Claimant appeared in person.
Nancy J. Aliff, Attorney at Law, for respondent.
This claim was originally filed in the name of Peter E. and
Straw. However, when
the record revealed that the automobile was titled solely in the
Jeanette E. Straw, the
Court, upon its own motion, amended the style to reflect that fact.
April 4, 1988, Peter E.
Straw was operating his wife's 1987 Chevrolet Spectrum when the
automobile struck a hole in
the road. Two tires were damaged on the right side of the
and claimant seeks
$388.66 for the repair of the tires.
Peter E. Straw testified that he was enroute to Chambersburg,
Pennsylvania. He was travelling
eastbound on Interstate 70. He was coming from St. Louis, Missouri.
was accompanied in
the automobile by his wife and his sister and her two children. He
in Ohio County when this
incident occurred. He was travelling at a speed of between 60 and
miles per hours. and he
was in the right lane of eastbound traffic. It was 9:00 p.m. and
He estimated the hole to be
sixteen inches wide and three feet deep. He stated that he did not
the hole before he struck
it, because he was "... coming up a hill on the bridge and the hole
on top of the bridge." He
explained that there were several other vehicles parked on the side of
the highway with a similar
problem. He said, "There were at least about seven or eight." When
returned to the scene
after being driven to an Amoco station, the wrecker service was
down the line and
repairing the other vehicles.
While the respondent is not an insurer of the safety of motorists
its highways, it does owe a
duty of exercising reasonable care in the maintenance of the
Interstate 70 is a heavily
travelled, major thoroughfare. This Court has previously held that
heavily travelled road
deserves greater attention than some lesser roadways. Lohan vs.
Department of Highways,
11 Ct.Cl. 39 (1975), Pratt vs. Department of Highways, (OPINION
1988). A pothole of the size described by claimant could not have
developed quickly, and the
respondent should have discovered its existence. The Court makes an
award in the amount of
Award of $388.66.