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Paint Damage from Highway Construction


growe3

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Recently one of our heavily used highways (Hwy 50), started construction to widen a couple of bridges, and extend the HOV lanes a couple of more miles. In their wisdom, the contractors decided to get the lane grinding out of the way in the beginning of the project, rather than when it is actually time to repave. I, and thousands of other cars, came upon this in the afternoon commute, and hit the poorly swept lanes at normal speeds of 65 - 70 MPH.

Ahh.... what a show, the dust and loose "gravel" flung up high in the air, to gracefully cascade down on the cars. The sounds of "clink, clink, clunk, BANG, WHANG, clink, clink, WHACK....." for the next couple of miles. Slow down as best as I could, you just can't get away from it all.

I looked my 2004 DTS over at home, and it actually seemed to fair pretty well. :( A few of chips to the front bumper, and a few small chips on the body. Really irritating, but I figured I would just do a little touch-up later, easier than trying to get the contractor to cover this seemingly small damage claim.

As this is virtually the only way to get back and forth to work, I have to use this route daily. Over the next couple of weeks I tried to time my entry and speed to this war zone, to avoid being close to other cars, and to be able to keep my speed reduced. The lanes were finally swept and the raveling of the ground up pavement stopped, so I could relax a bit. Then coming down the one morning I got trapped next to a set of doubles hauling grindings from this site. Before I could get by, WHACK, BANG, two good size rocks hit my windshield.

:angry: *%#&^$*!#%*#$!!!!!!! :angry: I am getting really tired of being calm, while my car is being beaten on. As my bumper was now showing lots of chipping, and I had two small cracks in my windshield (to go along with the numerous little gouges), I decided to file a claim under the comprehensive clause of my insurance.

At last, some good may come of this. I was lucky to have a very observant estimator, who works in, and also travels through this "war zone". he noticed many other chips on the roof and the trunk, that I had not. My DTS will be getting a first class complete paint job. With the mark off for diminished appearance to the headlight lens, my deducible of $100 is covered. Initial estimate is just shy of $6,000 for the paint job, and windshield replacement.

Wish it hadn't happened, but at least it will be repaired by one of the best shops in the region. This shop handles the Mercedes work for several dealers, but I will try to be understanding, and let them work on my Cadillac. B)

I am going to delay repair, with the shop's understanding, until this construction area stabilizes.

Looking forward to a fresh Midnight Black paint job! :D

-George

Drive'em like you own 'em. - ....................04 DTS............................

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Sorry to hear that your pretty black car got beat up, but VERY GLAD to hear that you will be getting it all fixed and a new paint job out of the deal.

Thanks. If there is a good side to this, the estimator does some very nice custom car work as a hobby, and appreciates what it takes to keep a car in nice shape. Thus his recommendation to this particular "high end" shop.

Kinda funny, several others who also worked at the insurance company remarked how nice the car looked, inside and out. How well a garage protected the car. I decided not to say that she "sleeps under the stars", gets washed regularly, and waxed on occasion. Got to give the nod to GM, they put some really good paint on their vehicles.

-George

Drive'em like you own 'em. - ....................04 DTS............................

DTS_Signature.jpg

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Did you call CalTrans and complain? This is no excuse for one of their contractors to be cutting corners like this - causing damage to cars.

2003 Seville STS 43k miles with the Bose Sound, Navigation System, HID Headlamps, and MagneRide

1993 DeVille. Looks great inside and out! 298k miles!

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Did you call CalTrans and complain? This is no excuse for one of their contractors to be cutting corners like this - causing damage to cars.

No, I didn't bother with filing a complaint with Caltrans. I know how long the process can take and how some of the investigators can be. I felt it more prudent to go through my own insurance company, and utilize the comprehensive claim. I do not want to go through the "it's not Caltrans fault , is is the contractors fault." The contractor claiming "the road was swept as required, and not their problem about the chips, etc." It would also appear that my insurance company felt similar, and it is cheaper to pay my claim than chase the contractor, or maybe they will pursue some type of claim of their own later, to recover their outlay on road damage claims from this work site.

However, I did report the problem (as I am sure many others did) regarding a number of issues in this construction area to Caltrans. Something reported may have helped bring the the problem to light. Now the area is pretty clean (although the lanes are rough and squirrely), and reduce speed signs are now posted ahead of the project to slow down the vehicles. A little late for me, but maybe in time for others.

-George

PS

I work for Caltrans. I have nearly thirty-five years in with them, retirement soon I hope. :)

I was an equipment operator and on special crews for about twelve years. I know how construction areas are supposed to be maintained. The contractors know what they must do, but unfortunately sometimes people get in a hurry and screw up. My last twenty three years I have worked with the Caltrans - Division of Engineering Services. We design and produce the plans for nearly all state maintenance stations, bridges, roadside rest areas, light rail transit facilities, etc. But one thing Caltrans does NOT do, is construct highways. We design them and their supporting facilities, construction is always done by contractors who make the winning bid.

Over the years, and with our huge projects, it has become increasingly hard to make sure that all contractors are in compliance, as it seems that more emphasis is placed on "get done it fast, and pay the claims later approach".

(Please note that these opinions are my personal views, not my employers)

As you noted, letting the major partner involved in oversight know about hazardous road conditions is important, and I did that, but regarding my claim I felt it would resolve my problem better, by going through my own insurance; at least in this case.

-G

Drive'em like you own 'em. - ....................04 DTS............................

DTS_Signature.jpg

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