Drivers sue for road hazards
Costly: Potholes in Karratha. Picture: Margaret Bertling/WA News

WA motorists claim thousands of dollars each year for damage to their cars from potholes, loose stones and traffic counters.

Documents obtained by The West Australian using freedom of information laws show Main Roads WA received more than 60 such compensation claims in 2013-14.

Another 11 were received for damage from debris flying from lawn mowers and whipper snippers. Though several claims have not been resolved, most were rejected.

Main Roads said they paid out $1956 for damage caused by loose stones, $3067.32 for mowing debris and $424 for traffic counters.

Twenty-five claims totalling nearly $20,000 were received for damage caused by potholes, including several for a hole on Mitchell Freeway in July last year.

According to the claimants, a big pothole developed in the lane near the Vincent Street overpass. The damaged cars needed new tyres and rims.

One of the biggest claims to Main Roads in 2013-14 related to an incident on the Sherlock River bridge, between Karratha and Port Hedland, in November.

As a vehicle was crossing, a bridge expansion plate dislodged and embedded itself under the vehicle.

"This resulted in the vehicle's rear drive gear and suspension being torn from their mountings and the vehicle sliding across the road to an eventual stop down an embankment," the claim said.

A claim for $52,000 was lodged.

One successful claim was for damage to a harness racing sulky.

The claimant was driving on Whatley Crescent on his way to Gloucester Park towing a horse float with the sulky attached.

He said that as he passed under the Eighth Avenue bridge, "I heard a bang and the horse in the back of my float spooked and scrambled".

The driver stopped and saw the sulky had been bent and damaged. A sign warning of the low-level bridge indicated a 3.2m clearance. But when the claimant measured the height, it was only 2.95m.

His claim of $2279.24 was paid.

In another successful claim, a truck driver on Stirling Highway hit a street sign and damaged his side mirror and its frame. He claimed the sign protruded beyond the kerb on to the road. He received $1047.75.

The West Australian

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