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Cars damaged during paving project

by: Robin Taylor Updated:


PITTSBURGH - A repaving project on one city street is costing some drivers a lot of money. 

They contacted Target 11 after they say ruts in the road ruined their cars.  In one case, a woman said the damage is so bad she can't even drive her car.  

Consumer Investigator Robin Taylor tried to get some answers.

The drivers think the city should be held responsible.  They told me there were no cones or barriers around the road hazards, which were hard to see, especially in the dark.  Yet when they've called the city for help, they were given the runaround.

"It sounded like a car wreck," said Robin Smith, a Hill District resident whose car was damaged as she was driving home.

Smith said it was dark when she was driving up Dinnwiddie Street.  She swerved to miss one exposed pipe, but then hit another, damaging her Saturn.

"I knew then something happened because my vehicle immediately shut down," said Smith.

She called AAA, and when the tow truck driver lifted up her car, she could see a hole in the bottom.  The tow truck driver told Smith she wasn't the only one this had happened to.

"The transmission was done.  He said, 'Your transmission's done ma'am,'" said Smith.

We know of at least three cars that were so badly damaged on Dinnwiddie Street they couldn’t be driven.

"It was tearing out the bottom.  We had a junk yard," said Marilyn Austin, a resident of Dinnwiddie Street, who showed us bits and pieces of cars.

In the meantime, people like Smith were getting the runaround.  She called the city, the contractor, and then the subcontractor.

"None of them wanted to take the blame.  None of them and they're still not taking the blame," said Smith.

She's looking at at least $1,000 repair bill for something that she says wasn't her fault.

I went to three departments in City Hall, before I was finally referred to the contractor. 

Donegal Construction’s claims department told me these cases would be investigated, and if they were at fault, their insurance would pay.