A man is seeking answers from highway authorities after hitting a pothole near Hawke's Bay Airport and having to replace four wheel rims and tyres at a cost of over $4000.
An insurer is covering the cost but Jason Tobeck, a long-time employee at the Napier Port and who lives at Bay View, believes highways managers Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency or roading contractors should accept some responsibility and cover outstanding costs, such as his insurance excess.
The agency has declined the request unless it can be convinced it was at fault, and Tobeck claims a contractor responsible for maintenance on the highway has told him it cannot be held responsible because it had not been told of the potholes.
The complaint stems from an incident as Tobeck was driving his FG Falcon XR8 with its 20in wheels home to Bay View. He hit a pothole in the left-hand side of the northbound lane of State Highway 2 near Onehunga Rd in wet and dark conditions about 5.40pm on Sunday July 18.
He says he was following another vehicle and did not see the pothole, which he says appears to have been repaired several times.
Both left-hand tyres were punctured and rims damaged, but all four rims needed replacement as a set.
An NZTA spokesman said: "Drivers are expected to drive to the local conditions and recognise that conditions may vary along a stretch of road.
"It is also expected that drivers have insurance for their vehicles in the event of any damage that may occur on the road, and their insurer should be their first point of contact where any damage has occurred."
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The spokesman said the agency is not normally responsible for damage that may occur to a vehicle while driving a state highway, but where complaints are made blaming road conditions the agency and contractors investigate this to see if there are any "exceptional circumstance we should be aware of which may trigger further obligations on Waka Kotahi and our contractor".
It's one of a growing number of complaints about highway conditions in Hawke's Bay, in particular SH5 (the Napier-Taupo road), which starts at the intersection with SH2 between Bay View and Eskdale.
Agency regional systems manager Oliver Postings said that during winter it is "not uncommon" for one pothole to be temporarily filled several times to ensure it does not degrade further until warmer, drier weather allows the repair to be permanently fixed.