A local resident is butting heads with the City and its primary contractor, Pittman Asphalt, after driving through patches of oil in a construction zone last week. The oil caused damage to his vehicle and now he’s looking for someone to pay up.
The area of Pine Street is receiving a facelift with new paving along the road after potholes wreaked havoc on it. Although resident, Don Fitzpatrick is happy with the new paving, he’s concerned after driving through oil residue from the work site. “We had no choice but to drive on the oil. There was construction trucks all down one side of the road and that happened to be the side where there was no oil so we were forced to drive on the oil,” said Fitzpatrick. “The asphalt company claims that they had a flagger chasing us down, we did not see a flagger.”
Fitzpatrick admits the City of Prince George notified him of construction in his area, but says there were no alternate routes to travel down when he left for work. Now he has a hefty bill, upwards of 600 dollars to pay for new detailing on his damaged car. “We need to get it cleaned off as soon as possible and nobody’s willing to fit the bill for that for something that wasn’t our fault.”
The City and contractor, Pittman Asphalt are responsible for providing a safe and accessible site. Supervisor of Street Operations, Mick Jones, says he remains confident proper access, flaggers, and notification was provided to all residents. “We provide media releases and letter notifications to residences advising them when the work will take place,” Jones said. “The work is usually weather dependent and there’s usually clear instructions in the notifications that are hand delivered advising them that there will be traffic control and to obey traffic control.”
Pittman Asphalt says Pine street was sprayed at 6am last week on only one side of the road for easy access. They do this to provide a dry surface for all residents to drive over. In this case they say the work zone was monitored by three traffic control people at the time in a statement.
“After internally investigating the reason for damage to the vehicle it was apparent that Pittman Asphalt was not liable for the oil getting on the vehicle in this case. Multiple Pittman Asphalt employees as well as a traffic control person made an effort to direct and or stop the vehicle in question. However, the vehicle was traveling through the zone at a higher than normal rate of speed and would not stop to receive instructions. The vehicle ended up driving on the oiled surface due to the decision of the driver and not that of Pittman Asphalt. Our first priority with developing proper traffic management plans is to ensure the safety of not only the public but also that of Pittman Asphalt employees.”
The city is now working on more than 40 projects over 57 lane kilometres and they say this is the first complaint they have received.