City addresses pot hole reports, damage claims

Winter rains left behind a number of potholes that can be damaging to cars. A menacing pothole on Kapahulu Ave. is just one example that’s causing more than just headaches for drivers.

KHON2 mounted a camera down low on a news car to see what drivers deal with driving in either direction on Kapahulu Ave., paying particular attention to the worst of the potholes, which was located near the intersection at Campbell Ave.

About two weeks ago, Lyle Flores was driving to work on Kapahulu Ave. in the rain and says he never saw the pothole coming. Flores suffered damage to a tire and to his wheel alignment. He filed a claim with the city and told officials about where to look for the pothole.

“I let them know where it was, the location,” he said. “It’s still there. It’s a swimming pool. It’s big.”

KHON2 was able to confirm Lyle’s story with L.J. Hamlin, a driver for nearby Papa John’s Pizza. He says he’s had to deal with the pothole and a few others on Kapahulu as well.

“This is bad,” said Hamlin. “(It’s been a problem for) about two months.”

KHON2 took their concerns to the city, sharing a picture of the worst of the problems, and asked why the pothole was not picked up by the city.

“If we don’t get word either on our pothole hotline or our crews seeing it while they are patching potholes, then it’s something that we would not identify,” said Ross Sasamura, city director of facility maintenance.

Last year, the city heard 779 complaints about potholes from residents and filled more than 7,600 potholes.

As for the one on Kapahulu, crews fixed it that afternoon.

It won’t be as easy to fix Flores’ car. He says he’ll shell out at least $300 to fix the damage to his tire and wheel alignment. He’s filed a claim to get reimbursed.

And he’s not the only one to request a payback. In 2012, the city received 59 damage claims, but it only paid back 17 of them, a total of $5,500.

From January 1, 2013 to the present, the city says it received 173 claims related to potholes and paid 20 of them, for a total of $6,203.70. The city says some claims are pending.

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