Claims denied for drivers whose vehicles were damaged in I-26 road work zone
SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCSC) – Drivers who submitted damage claims after they said their vehicles were damaged by flying debris due to road work on Interstate 26 have had those claims denied, leaving them to cover the costs themselves.
Banks Construction is the contractor working on an 11-mile resurfacing project on the interstate between Summerville and Goose Creek. The old asphalt has been milled off, but remnants have been breaking down and sending small pieces of debris into the air, cracking windshields and chipping paint.
“It was like sandblasted from the rocks that kicked up, striking the windshield. I wasn’t aware of any issues at the time, but later on discovered the windshield was cracked,” driver Wade Lewis recalled.
Dwight Kress had flying debris chip the paint on his vehicle’s hood as he drove to work on July 13.
“I heard a quick pop, pop, and then felt – well, didn’t feel it but saw it impact my windshield and it scratched the hood of my car,” he said.
Both men said their vehicles were damaged in the morning hours; work on the project is being done at night.
They both submitted claims with Banks Construction, but those claims were denied, even though Lewis caught the damage to his vehicle on his dash camera.
A letter sent to multiple drivers who submitted claims said there is, “no evidence to support that Banks was negligent in its performance of the work under the terms of its contract.” It encourages people file a claim with their insurance providers.
The South Carolina Department of Transportation has yet to provide an exact number of claims it has gotten due to the project, but Kress said Banks told him they had been inundated with calls, which left him wondering why the contractor was not liable.
Lewis is wondering what the point of having the claims process was if the claims were going to be denied.
“I think nobody really wants to take responsibility for it,” he said. “I think it just all comes down to money and they don’t want to pay for the damage to anyone’s vehicle.”
Kress also questioned whether changes should be made to prevent future issues.
“I’m not a road construction person, I don’t know what the standards are,” he said. “According to Banks, they’re following all the protocols as set forth by the South Carolina Department of Transportation. What those protocols are, I don’t know, and what the standard is, I don’t know, but maybe they should go back and look at their standards.”
Banks Construction did not respond to a request for comment, while SCDOT said it had no comment.
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