NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - One victim of the pothole fiasco on Interstate 264 said VDOT needs to be held accountable for reimbursements, not contractor TME Enterprises, Inc.
According to the Virginia Department of Transportation, 200 claims have been filed since rain popped up dozens of potholes on I-264 eastbound, costing drivers thousands of dollars.
Two weeks after she got a flat tire while driving on I-264, Nicole Luster said she finally got a response from TME. Luster said too much time has passed and she wants to know VDOT's role in the claims process.
"I think we need to be dealing with VDOT," Luster said. "It is their responsibility to take care of roads in Virginia. [TME doesn't] answer to you... they can do whatever they want. We don't have a leg to stand on because they are a private company... VDOT answers to taxpayers, not TME."
Luster thinks doing away with private contractors could have sped up the claims process.
"If VDOT did it in-house then communications between the different departments would be better, and I know would be processed a lot faster," Luster said.
Commonwealth Transportation Board member Aubrey Layne told 10 On Your Side last week the buck stops with VDOT.
"But at the end of the day, even though we have a third party looking at them, the roads are maintained by VDOT. VDOT must make sure the appropriate thing is done... and err on the side of the consumer," Layne said.
Interim District Administrator Mike Estes said the same thing last week.
"I believe ultimately we are where accountability stops," Estes said.
Luster told WAVY.com she was glad to have 10 On Your Side has her eyewitness to the flat tire fiasco.
"It is reassuring to have [WAVY] on our side... I feel the ball would have been dropped if you guys didn't help us, so I appreciate it," Luster said.
WAVY.com sent information on four pothole victims to VDOT. We will continue to track how long it takes for the victims to get reimbursed, if they do.
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