Pothole that damaged dozens of cars opened up 3 times in 2019, report says

FOX 46 has learned more than a dozen drivers who hit a pothole on I-85 have now submitted damage complaints to NCDOT.

An NCDOT spokesperson tells FOX 46 that 16 drivers filed complaints when their cars were damaged by a pothole on December 2. Those claims were submitted to the attorney general to take care of.

For the first time NCDOT sent FOX 46 a photo of the pothole. According to a report from NCDOT, it took almost 3 hours for officials to close the lanes that were impacted.

"There are potholes on the highway that you just run over and say ok, boom, that's a pothole and they patch it up, but this one was pretty bad,” said Jamel Hayes.

Hayes paid $320 to fix his car. The pothole damaged both driver side tires on his 2018 Toyota Camry. He submitted a damage claim to the state when he saw our story last month. Last week, he received a letter saying his claim was denied.

FOX 46 obtained the report from NCDOT which was also reviewed by the attorney general's office. According to NCDOT the pothole in question first appeared in January 2019 and was patched. Six months later, it was patched again. Then on December 2 it opened up a third time.

"Wow. Wow. That's terrible,” said Hayes when FOX 46 told him what NCDOT reported.

Impacted drivers like Hayes feel the state should be held responsible, especially considering on the NCDOT website where drivers submitted their claims it specifically says the Attorney General will consider if NCDOT knew about the pothole.

"Just to know they won't cover it is terrible. I am a taxpaying individual,” said Hayes.

We have been reaching out to the attorney general's office since Monday morning to try and find out why the claims are being denied, but we haven't been given an explanation yet.