OPINION ISSUED DECEMBER 2, 1988
DEPARTMENT OF HIGHWAYS
Claimant appeared in person.
Nancy J. Aliff, Attorney at Law, for respondent.
On May 1, 1988, claimant's husband was operating her vehicle, a
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
amount of $270.60.
Richard Stover testified that the accident occurred at
7:30 in the evening. It was
light and clear. He was accompanied in the automobile by his
The highways is a
one-way street proceeding east. There was heavy traffic at the time
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
pipe of the automobile.
The "steel plate" was actually a loose expansion joint. The steel
three or four inches above
the ground. He had driven this route the day prior to this
and, at that time, the
expansion joint was not in a hazardous condition.
Wilson Braley, District 2 Bridge Engineer for respondent,
that he is familiar with the
Fifth Avenue Bridge. He explained that an expansion joint in this
of bridge is to allow for
thermal expansion of the bridge or movement of the bridge due to
in temperature. He
did not become aware of the problem with the joint until he
cable from the City of
Huntington on May 4, 1988. The city had been notified of the
by claimant's husband
after his accident. Mr. Braley had received no complaints prior to
1, 1988 concerning the
The bridge where the accident occurred is a well-travelled bridge.
Court has previously
granted awards to claimants for damages which were incurred as a
expansion joints. State Farm Ins. Co., as Subrogee of Vernon
Jr., Individually vs.
Dept. of Highways, (OPINION ISSUED January 18, 1988); Gregory A
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.