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Reporting highway driving-related car damage
Dear Street Smarts, Q: Two weeks ago, in the morning, when driving near the road construction near the southbound Soquel Avenue exit on Highway 1, a large piece of gravel struck my windshield. If it was not a piece of gravel, it was some other sort of debris. I now have a small crack in my front window that will now continually slowly grow larger. I cannot honestly say the construction site is where the debris came from. But there was quite a bit of dust in the vicinity of the Soquel Avenue exit when came off the freeway there. There was no semi on the freeway in front of me, or in the northbound lane that I could see. My questions in regards to the gravel damage is as follows: 'Who do I contact to try and receive compensation to repair my window if the construction site is where the debris came from? Do I contact Caltrans, the CHP, who? I certainly can't say for certain that another car on the road was the source of the debris. If the road construction was not the source of the debris, what are my options for damage compensation? Do I even have any if the source was not the road construction?' Any help is appreciated. If I have options to be reimbursed for replacing my windshield that was damaged, from what I believe to be the road construction, I would like to know what they are. Thank you, William Smythe, Santa Cruz A: Yes, you have options. If the damage occurred near the auxiliary lanes construction zone, which is a project by the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission. Contact the agency at http://sccrtc.org/contact-us/ or 460-3200 about filing a damage report. However, if the damage happened outside the project area, file a report with Caltrans at http://www.dot.ca.gov/damageclaims.htm. Both Caltrans and the RTC folks suggest you try to pinpoint where the damage occurred so you can accurately report it on the forms. Kim Shultz of the RTC suggested you file reports with both agencies. “We will sort it out between us, as we have on a couple of incidents over the course of the construction period – not too bad a track record considering the construction has been going on for 18 months and nearly 100,000 vehicles travel down through the center of the construction site every single day,” he said.