Lufkin Loop tar problems continue as drivers receive claim results

Lufkin Loop tar problems continue as drivers receive claim results
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff

As a result of the heavy rain from two weeks ago, construction repairs were put on hold on the Lufkin Loop 287, which left tar to improperly dry and stick to tires as the sun returned.

Soon, motorists started filing complaints with TxDOT, and some received their replies this week, including one Lufkin man whose claim was denied.

"Whoever is responsible, I just want somebody to step up and say, 'Here we're going to take over the situation, answer the questions, and get everybody their money back," said Seth Basham, the owner of Basham Construction Company.

Basham and his crew were heading to a job site, when the unexpected happened.

"That tar was just caked on and just pouring off the wheels, you know. It was a nightmare," Basham said.

Clark Construction, the company hired by the Texas Department of Transportation to complete regular road repairs, apparently laid tar down before the rains began. But as the sun came out it, began melting the road.

So Basham started taking action.

"I didn't want to file a claim on my insurance because, of course, I didn't want to pay my deductible because I didn't do anything. But I filed a claim yesterday, and I've been back and forth with TxDOT and Clark trying to get answers," Basham said.

In the meantime, Basham shelled out $1,300 for new tires as he awaited a reply from TxDOT on his complaint.

"Just basically saying that they're not responsible for any damage caused by the roadway, they're not responsible for and that they denied the claim that I had sent in," Basham said.

TxDOT said that under state law, the agency cannot be held responsible for damages from the road conditions. Adding that not all of these will result in actual damage claims, but most will by the Occupational Safety Division in Austin. However, it is up to the customer to initiate the claim online and provide proof of damages and receipts for repairs.

"You know we're very sorry that this has happened to anyone who involved in and suffered any damage, but we really hope that the public understands that we have to uphold the law and that's where we are right now on many of them," said Rhonda Oaks, a TxDOT spokeswoman.

Ultimately, Basham said  he hopes to come to a resolution.

"I just want to get my money back that I'm going to have to spend to fix everything," Basham said.

Basham did said he is in the process of filing a claim with Clark Construction, who laid the tar before the heavy rains.

The department of transportation took nearly 500 claims from those affected.

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