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Driving You Crazy: What to do about a pothole that caused a flat tire

Posted at 5:13 AM, May 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-31 09:52:16-04

Cheri from Lakewood writes, “What's driving you crazy? Around six to eight huge potholes on south side of 285 on the Hampden frontage road between South Pierce and South Teller. I have called Lakewood, who says it's Denver, and Denver says call CDOT, and no one wants to claim it's their area. Numerous cars with low profile tires have gotten flats, including me. Please help.”

Sorry for the damage to your tires, Cheri. After calling around, and even though it looks like that little, narrow section of land between Teller and Pierce streets along the West Hampden Service Road on the south side of Highway 285 is the responsibility of Jefferson County, the Colorado Department of Transportation handles maintenance there.

After taking a look, Cheri is right — the potholes are large and in one long line. Since they are all aligned on the street where the driver’s side tires roll, the potholes could certainly cause damage to tires.

About two weeks after contacting CDOT, they had a maintenance crew fill those major potholes with some cold mix asphalt. Most cities and the state use the cold mix as a temporary, relatively inexpensive and quick way to fill potholes.

The problem is that it's meant for temporary or emergency repairs — not a permanent solution. Looking at the roadway surface, CDOT will need to come back to make major permanent repairs.

“Our crews are out patching potholes daily during this time of the year, especially after the freeze-thaw cycle,” Presley Fowler with CDOT said.

CDOT said the average cost to repair a pothole is $60 per square yard and the repair takes between 10 and 30 minutes to complete, both of which are dependent on hole depth and width.

As for the damage to Cheri's car, Presley said the State Office of Risk Management handles all vehicle damage claims filed by a citizen, regardless of the state agency involved. To comply with law, a claim cannot be filed on the driver's behalf, and the driver must file a claim with the Office of the Attorney General to start the process.

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Drivers with damage caused by potholes should call the State Office of Risk Management — 303-866-3848 within the Denver metro area and 1-800-268-8092 for outside of the Denver metro area — or visit their website to obtain the Notice to Attorney General Claim form.

Per Colorado Revised Statute 24-10-109, to file a claim against the State of Colorado, drivers must submit a form to the Colorado Attorney General. To initiate the claim process, complete the New Claim Form, print and mail it to the address listed on the form or call the State Office of Risk Management to have a form mailed.

A damage claim has legal standing once it has been filed in writing, within 182 days of the loss, at the Attorney General’s Office, as required by statute. Upon receiving claim information, the State Office of Risk Management sets up a claim file and assigns claims to adjusters to investigate the occurrence and bring the claim to conclusion, either by settlement or denial.

State statutes limit recovery for damages, which are paid by the State Office of Risk Management under the Risk Management Act. State agencies are prohibited by statute from making payments for damages themselves.

Just about every city and county has a way to report a pothole or other road issue, and a Google search for the county where the pothole is located should turn up the needed information to report. To report a pothole problem to CDOT, visit their road reporting webpage and click on the region where the pothole is located. In Jefferson County, report pothole or road damage to the Road and Bridge department.

Denver7 traffic anchor Jayson Luber says he has been covering Denver-metro traffic since Ben-Hur was driving a chariot. (We believe the actual number is over 25 years.) He's obsessed with letting viewers know what's happening on their drive and the best way to avoid the problems that spring up. Follow him on Facebook,Twitter or Instagram or listen to his Driving You Crazy podcast on iTunes , Stitcher , Google Play or Podbean.