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Local Drivers (And Their Insurance Agents) Unhappy With MoDOT Project

Highway 136, which runs through Clark County and the communities of Wayland, Kahoka, and Luray recently has been receiving the attention of Missouri Department of Transportation crews working on a resurfacing (Chip Sealing) project. In return MoDot has been receiving a great deal of attention from motorists traveling on Hwy. 136.
As of Thursday, August 26 the list of claims which Clark County Insurance agencies have received concerning cracked windshields are as follows: American Family –30+, Clark Mutual (Huffman Insurance) 15-20, Clark County Farm Bureau – 30 +, Hawkins Insurance – 50+, Shelter Insurance, “Over 12”, and State Farm – 50+ (Clark and Scotland County combined). State Farm also had some claims of paint damage.
After contacting MoDot about the situation, Marisa L. Brown-Ellison, MBC, Community Relations Manager for MoDOT Northeast District replied via email, “ Chip sealing is a preventive maintenance treatment to help preserve a road. The rocks come from Iron County, MO and are called iron mountain trap rock. . There are several parts of the process to a chip seal operation. From patching the road, cleaning it off, putting down oil then spreading rock, rolling the rock into the oil, brooming it, then striping. We have quality employees who perform a very efficient operation. The cost of chip sealing this 55 miles (of 136) was almost $1 million.
There is nothing different about this mix. We have chip sealed 277 miles this year in 13 counties in northeast Missouri using the same process. Last year, we chip sealed 484 miles. The difference between this project and the others is that this one is the longest, continuous operation, measuring 55 miles. The number of calls, especially in Clark County, are significantly higher than any other location. We have reviewed the process and the mix, and nothing is different. The chip seal is also performing as expected.
Minimal excess of rocks remain following the chip seal, and one day after the chip seal is done, we send a broom truck over the entire length of the project to remove any excess. Vehicles are a vital part of this operation because they help embed the rocks into the oil.
We have the fresh oil/loose gravel signs posted, and we have a lighted message board encouraging motorists to drive with caution.”
Unfortunately, the number of claims continues to mount as insurance companies as well as motorists look for answers, both in what’s causing the problems and who will pay for it. The only insurance that covers windshields is comprehensive, and most of that will have a deductible. There are many variables but windshields will start at around $375.00 on an insurance standpoint and could go all the way to well over $500.00. This means if the car owner has a $500.00 deductible they will pick up the entire costs. Of course motorist cannot have cracks in their windshield and pass their annual or biannual inspections. One agent urged that policy owners call their agents and report the crack, but put off having it fixed for a few weeks as there have been reports of new and replaced windshields being damaged. The other advice that agents have been giving their customers is to call MoDot and report the damage. What will become of this and who (if anyone) is liable is still to be determined.