Matthew Martin is a senior reporter at the Rotorua Daily Post

Payout on manhole damage

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At least two people have had damage caused to their car tyres after driving over a raised manhole cover on Lake Rd. Photo / Stephen Parker
At least two people have had damage caused to their car tyres after driving over a raised manhole cover on Lake Rd. Photo / Stephen Parker

Rotorua Lakes Council has agreed to pay for repairs to two vehicles damaged after driving over a raised manhole cover on Lake Rd.

A Koutu resident told the Rotorua Daily Post she had to pay $450 to fix her car after hitting the raised cover last Friday.

Jill Nicholas said she approached the council and asked for compensation after the incident.

She said it was dark and raining at the time and the impact tore her car's two left hand tyres away from the rims, buckling them.

Cones on the right hand side of the road had prevented her from driving further to the right to avoid the obstacle.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who has had their car damaged by this protrusion and I wanted to let people know that this can be an expensive exercise.
Jill Nicholas

"While I'm very pleased the council and their contractors have come to the party and compensated me for the damage, I hope they can do the same for others who have experienced the same issue," she said.

The council's transport solutions director Stavros Michael said he was aware of two incidents reported to the council on Tuesday.

"Site inspections revealed that the manhole cover indeed protruded about 30mm to 40mm over the current surrounding road surface and will be paved soon to level off all covers."

The site has a temporary speed limit of 30km/h and resealing work should be completed by April 22.

Photo / Stephen Parker
Photo / Stephen Parker

Mr Michael said the manhole cover was inside the traffic lane and contractors had made adjustments to fix the issue.

"The position of the manhole relative to the traffic flow was such that it gave officers reasonable cause to believe the site set up was ambiguous and possibly guiding drivers to drive over the manhole, thus suffering some damage.

"The council formed the view that our works set up contributed to the incidents and we will reimburse drivers once cost evidence via receipts have been exchanged.

"Council will follow up with its contractor on the matter and deal with the issue within the relevant provisions of the contract."

He said "as a matter of principle" the council would take ownership of issues arising from its actions or the actions of its contractors.

"Any claims with regard to this location, or similar circumstances, would be addressed by council on the basis of the merits of facts and strength of evidence produced."

Any claim for damage should be prompt, validated by a professional, site specific and, if possible, supported by photographic evidence.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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