Pothole claims in Indianapolis jump to record high

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The snow may be long gone, but the city is still dealing with one of the worst winters on record.

Eyewitness News has found that pothole claims against the city have reached a new high. According to the city, 995 claims have been filed from January 1-June 9 and the pothole season isn't even over.

Thursday night found Phillip Glover deep in yard work, with winter a distant memory. That is, until he hits the road.

"My wife is running over them, I'm running over them," Glover said.

Glover lives in the Martindale-Brightwood Neighborhood, where nearby near 30th Street is still very much hit or miss. According to the Department of Public Works, the city has closed out 21,172 pothole requests through June 9 and received 15,952 more complaints this year than for the same period last year.

And, there are still hundreds of potholes waiting to be filled.

"It's lucky we're not having any actual damage to the car, but we're still hitting them," Glover said.

In Camby, far from the streets of Indianapolis, Bill Montfort isn't so lucky. Montfort said in late February he was driving on the city's west side in heavy rain when he hit a pothole.

"I knew something was wrong with the rear right tire, but I kept going and the left front hit another one, there was a cluster of three," he said.

Montfort sent a letter to the city with pictures of the potholes and damage and the bills. He said he spent $726 on repairs and $466 on a rental car.

Two weeks later, he got a letter back, denying his claim.

"Said 'no.' I got zero," he said. "They said I was the first to hit that pothole so they rejected it. I don't know how many more have to hit it, but I'm sure a lot more did."

Eyewitness News recently reviewed pothole claims for the first three months of this year and found that less than five percent of claimants are reimbursed for damage.

The law says the city is only responsible if they had "prior knowledge" of the potholes and failed to repair them in "a reasonable amount of time."

As frustrated as he was, Montfort said he'd still encourage people to file a claim.

"Go through the process, maybe you'll be lucky, maybe you won't," he said.

DPW says the road ahead should be smoother. 30th Street is one of dozens of roads scheduled to be re-surfaced this summer, after the council approved $24 million for emergency repairs, perhaps meaning fewer claims next year.

"We'll see. I hope it works that way, my experience wasn't that great," Montfort said.

And DPW says yes, potholes are still being patched, with 10-15 crews out each day.