Claimant appeared in person.
Nancy J. Aliff, Attorney at Law, for respondent.


On May 1, 1988, claimant's husband was operating her vehicle, a 1979
AMC Concord, in an
easterly direction on the Fifth Avenue Bridge in Huntington. As he
proceeded across the bridge,
the automobile struck an expansion joint, and sustained damage in the
amount of $270.60.

Richard Stover testified that the accident occurred at approximately
7:30 in the evening. It was
light and clear. He was accompanied in the automobile by his daughter.
The highways is a
one-way street proceeding east. There was heavy traffic at the time of
this accident. Claimant
described a "steel plate" which protected the area where the bridge
joins to the asphalt had
become dislodged. The "steel plate" stuck the manifold and the exhaust
pipe of the automobile.
The "steel plate" was actually a loose expansion joint. The steel was
three or four inches above
the ground. He had driven this route the day prior to this incident,
and, at that time, the
expansion joint was not in a hazardous condition.

Wilson Braley, District 2 Bridge Engineer for respondent, testified
that he is familiar with the
Fifth Avenue Bridge. He explained that an expansion joint in this type
of bridge is to allow for
thermal expansion of the bridge or movement of the bridge due to changes
in temperature. He
did not become aware of the problem with the joint until he received a
cable from the City of
Huntington on May 4, 1988. The city had been notified of the complaint
by claimant's husband
after his accident. Mr. Braley had received no complaints prior to May
1, 1988 concerning the

The bridge where the accident occurred is a well-travelled bridge. This
Court has previously
granted awards to claimants for damages which were incurred as a result
of hazardous
expansion joints. State Farm Ins. Co., as Subrogee of Vernon Marcum,
Jr., Individually vs.
Dept. of Highways, (OPINION ISSUED January 18, 1988); Gregory A Harrison
vs. Dept. of
Highways, 13 Ct.Cl. 229 (1980); and Bubar vs. Dept. of Highways, 12
Ct.Cl. 204 (1978).
The Court is of the opinion that respondent was negligent in the
maintenance of the expansion
joint and grants an award to claimant for damages incurred by her

Award of $270.60.