Potholes pose pricey problem on central Indiana roads

Damage to tires from potholes can be costly.
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As last week's snow disappears, potholes are appearing by the dozens on central Indiana roads.

Hundreds of drivers have complained to the city and others are warning others about some of the worst potholes in town. Repair shops are already saying pothole damage is running ahead of typical winters in Indianapolis.

"How you hit the chuckhole is what kind of damage you are going to do," said Bill Amonette at Beck's Service Center. "Bent wheel, broken wheel, suspension parts bent and damaged."

"A big hole, huge, in the road," said Cathy Goodson, describing a pothole she hit.

The Department of Public Works says it's gotten almost 500 complaints of potholes since Friday. More than half came Monday alone.

"The pot holes are bad on the interstate, 465, especially. You see people dart in and out of the traffic trying to avoid the potholes," said driver Jenny Moore, who has hit some herself.

"Yeah, I was worried, because my steering wheel started shaking," Goodson said.

They're tallying the toll at auto shops like Beck's at Madison and Edgewood on the south side.

"By the time you do two tires and two wheel bearings, you're talking $800-900," said Amonette of one car up on the lift.

But only a fraction of motorists ever gets a penny back from local or state governments for pothole damage.

City rules are very specific. You must document your damage, your costs and the location and time of the pothole hit. The city will only pay you if someone had reported the pothole before you hit it and you can show the city failed to fix the hole within a day of learning about it.

"I filed a claim, I felt it should have been paid," said motorist Kathy Caltron. "When that happens, you want someone to take care of the damages."

But she did not get a settlement.

"I never got anything," she said.

"From what I've been told by my customers, very few have been able to recover anything from the state," said Amonette. He tells drivers, "sometimes it's hard to dodge them but you've got to dodge them as best you can at all costs. It can get very expensive, very quickly."

How to file a tort claim with the city

WTHR Pothole Patrol