How an 'enormous' pothole ruined tourist's Lismore holiday
AN UNSUSPECTING Queensland tourist’s holiday to Lismore turned expensive after she copped a hefty bill to repair car parts after encountering an “enormous” pothole.
Geraldine Grimish said she “thought Queensland roads were bad” but after “constantly dodging potholes…Lismore takes the cake”.
On holiday from Gympie visiting family, Ms Grimish was driving along Caniaba Road on a wet night of July 5 when the pothole punctured the front left passenger side tyre and damaged both rims of her car.
“The pothole, according to locals who use the road, had been in existence for more than two weeks and measured 1.3m long x .94m wide x 10cm deep,” Ms Grimish said.
“I was driving with my son at the time, and on impact there was a loud and distressing noise, and within moments the onboard computer registered low pressure in the front left hand tyre.
“My car was inspected the following day, for underbody damage, two new tyres were fitted, a wheel alignment done and is yet to have the rims repaired.
“At a cost of $750 in total, I reported the damage and the pothole to Lismore City Council that day and also lodged an insurance claim for compensation for my expenses.”
She said she was travelling at 65km/h when she hit the pothole, on the 80km road according to the “weather conditions and poor condition of the road”.
Ms Grimish said she contacted Lismore City Council seeking compensation, but council informed her they were “not aware of the subject pothole prior to (the) incident”.
“Council conducts repairs as soon as possible when a defect is reported by the public,” the council wrote to her.
“Council has in place procedures to inspect and repair roads, which is an ongoing process and is carried out in accordance with its resources. This does not happen immediately but in accordance with its financial resources and other traffic concerns/priorities.”
Ms Grimish said she believed the fact that council was unaware of such a significant sized pothole “on a road that is in desperate need of repair” was a sign of negligence.
“A pothole of this magnitude would have most likely taken weeks to develop, a fact Council appears unwilling to acknowledge,” she said.
“What will it take for an insurance claim against Council to be successful? An accident where serious injury occurs or maybe even a death?”
Council’s Civic Services Manager Darren Patch said while council “understandd the frustration drivers have with a road network that is less than perfect” they were providing the “best possible service” they could with current resources.
“We urge drivers to always drive to local conditions as they can vary throughout the road network from one day to the next,” Mr Patch said.
“The stark reality is that the state of our road network is a legacy of many successive councils and we would need approximately $70 million to completely repair the network, which is money Council simply does not have.
“In the last few years we have changed our methodology toward fixing roads and we now look strategically at where we can fix roads before they fall into disrepair, ensuring they remain waterproof and in good condition. This approach gets the most life out of every road.
“We also have in place procedures to inspect and repair our road network for potholes, which is an ongoing process. We conduct repairs as soon as possible when a defect is reported by one of our inspectors or the general public.”