- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 19, 2019

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Omaha will pay out tens of thousands of dollars to cover the cost to repair private vehicles damaged by potholes following a particularly severe winter, the mayor said

The city will make a temporary policy exception to pay the nearly 60 claims that were formally filed between Jan. 1 and March 18, Mayor Jean Stothert said Monday.

Fifty-four of the claims totaled nearly $29,000, while five others didn’t specify a dollar amount.

“We had record-breaking snow, we’ve had ice, we have had a lot of rain, and we have had below-freezing temperatures for extended periods of time,” Stothert said. “The result of that is we have widespread pothole damage all over the city of Omaha, and many, many streets are deteriorating beyond repair.”

The city received almost 5,000 requests to repair potholes last week, Stothert said. The city on Monday sent out 34 pothole repair crews with hot asphalt to begin addressing the problems, she said.



Over the past five years, the city has rejected all of the more than 500 pothole damage claims that were filed. The city’s longtime policy against paying for damage caused by potholes aligns with state statutes and is similar to other Midwestern cities, Stothert said.

But the extraordinary winter conditions have warranted a brief exception, she said.

“This is an effort to do what, in my opinion, is the right thing,” Stothert said.

The City Law Department will consider claims filed after March 18 on a case-by-case basis until crews are caught up on pothole repairs, Stothert said. Claims must be formally filed with the City Clerk’s Office.

The potholes that caused damage must be within city limits on public streets maintained by the city and the potholes must have been previously reported to the city. Claimants must provide documentation of personal expenses and details about insurance reimbursements.

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