City contractors may be liable for car damage caused by steel plates

By Rochelle Dean - email

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Drivers who run over manhole covers along Gervais Street and end up with a flat tire may be able to recoup their losses.

What began seven years ago as a major maintenance project to extend the life of the many underground water pipes throughout the City of Columbia has now left some residents driving down a pretty bumpy road.

"Those steel plates should have asphalt around the edges of those to keep them in place when they are not working in that area," said Columbia City Manager Steve Gantt.

Some are finding out the hard way that not all of the steel plates are being secured properly by contractors hired by the city. Some sharp edges left exposed in many cases have caused tires to blow out and drivers tempers to blow up.

While the city says they taken several calls from residents wondering what the plates are in place for, they have not received a lot of complaints. "I would strongly encourage a resident or someone driving around town who sees one of those steel plates that does not have asphalt around it to hold it in place to call our utilities engineering department," said Gantt.

While reporting the issue will keep others from having tire trouble, you may be able to hold contractors responsible for any damage caused to yours. "The contractor is responsible for any damages that somebody may have with a car that hits one of those things that's not secured properly," said Gantt.

To file a claim with the city's contractors, you can call 545-3400.

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