New Brunswick·New

Pothole damage claims spike in N.B.

A growing number of New Brunswick motorists are filing claims with the Department of Transportation over the damage done to their vehicles by driving over potholes.
More drivers are filing claims with the Department of Transportation for damage caused by potholes. (CBC)

A growing number of New Brunswick motorists are filing claims with the Department of Transportation over the damage done to their vehicles by driving over potholes.

As the snow has started to recede in recent weeks, drivers have discovered many deep potholes on streets and roads.

Bob McLean, who works for Loyalist City Towing in Saint John, said he's been extremely busy this spring.

McLean said the number of pothole-related calls, asking for help repairing flat tires or broken rims, are double what they usually are at this time of the year.

"We've been out night and day for a long time now," McLean said.

Many of the drivers who called McLean for help have then called the Department of Transportation to get money to pay for the damage inflicted on their vehicles by driving over the potholes.

Last year, 161 drivers filed small claims with the Department of Transportation.

Jean-Francois Pelletier, a department spokesman, said the latest figures on complaints are not out yet, but they are up.

He said most are for pothole damage and range between $300 and $1,500.

"If we find out that we were responsible, we're going to pay ... if we find negligence on our end," Pelletier said.

Pelletier said the provincial government can't guarantee no potholes with the constant freeze-thaw.

But it does have to fix them, post signs or reroute traffic within a reasonable amount of time.

Pelletier said the provincial government pays in about five to 10 per cent of claims filed to the department.

But he advises motorists to be aware of road conditions and drive carefully.