“I am not in the wrong here. I need something to be done.”
Joe Britton's frustrations mirror all those Hampton Roads drivers who hit a pothole and still have yet to be paid for their damage claims.
“You’ve driven these roads, I’ve driven these roads… it’s a landmine out there. Every day is a fight,” said Britton.
His fight started on January 24th after he encountered crumbling concrete on I-64.
“We hit what seemed like a crater. The sensor light came on, and we knew we were in trouble,” said Britton.
With over $300 in damage, Britton called VDOT to file a claim.
VDOT, though, wasn't the one to respond--instead, it was TME Enterprises, the company contracted to maintain the interstates.
In their apology letter dated February 13th, 20 days after the damage occurred, they say "TME Enterprises regretfully cannot accept responsibility for your claim. For those road hazards that are discovered or reported, we immediately mitigate those."
Basically, TME says because they didn't know the pothole existed, they don't have to pay.
“Why are they saying no to me? What warrants restitution? If you’re not responsible, who is? I hit the pothole before you fixed it, that’s the issue,” said Britton. “They weren’t fixed before I hit it.”
After the pothole emergency was declared on Friday, February 8th, VDOT said they would handle the claims for that day.
Still, that doesn't help people like Joe, whose damage came earlier.
“I’m giving them a lot of credit for stepping up in those cases, but they need to be fair to everyone else not part of that incident, because those potholes were there. They drive those roadways just like us, and for them to say we need to report them, well, what are you guys doing? Unless you are avoiding 264 and 64, how are you guys getting to work? It’s very clear it’s an issue,” said Britton.