Naz Pierce and her two young children got a scare on the afternoon of Friday, Oct. 30, while driving on Highway 17 westbound near the Port Mann Bridge.
They were heading through a construction zone in the left lane around 3 p.m., when Pierce said out of nowhere something appeared in front of her vehicle.
“All of a sudden, there was sort of a rectangular cut-out directly in the road,” Pierce said, and added no one was actively working in the construction zone at the time. “We did not have time to slow down or to move over.”
Pierce said there was a truck to her right, and she couldn’t swerve out of the way.
“So we ended up driving right through it,” she said. “The car banged down pretty hard.”
Pierce said the impact woke up her three-month-old baby and 19-month-old son, who both started crying.
“Not a good experience, and not what you expect when you’re just trying to drive home with your kids in the car,” she said.
When Pierce pulled over, her tire was flat. She said other vehicles pulled over afterwards, too.
“There (were) no signs on the side of the road, saying that there was a bump or that you should slow down,” Pierce said, and added the section of road was also unmarked. “We had no warning.”
Along with her punctured tire, Pierce said her vehicle also sustained damage to part of its air conditioning system and the front fender.
Pierce has filed a claim with ICBC, and the insurance corporation confirmed Wednesday two other similar claims stemming from that day have also been made.
In an emailed statement, the transportation ministry told CTV News the construction is related to the creation of a new parking facility for commercial trucks.
The $30-million project is being jointly funded by the federal government and the province, and the first phase involves the construction of an intersection.
“As part of the construction, a portion of Highway 17 had been milled and excavated for the installation of catch basins,” the ministry’s statement read. “Last weekend, the contractor, while monitoring the worksite, observed that a specific section of the asphalt fill had settled, resulting in a lip at the edge of the excavation at one of the four catch basins.”
The ministry has received reports of three vehicles that sustained “wheel damage” at the site before repairs were made.
There is a claim process for drivers who are injured or whose vehicles are damaged while travelling on provincial highways, arising from construction or maintenance work.
However, according to the province, there must be proof of negligence on the part of the ministry or contractor in order for a claim to be payable.
On the claims information webpage, the province said contractors have to meet specific standards and response times determined by the classification of the road. Highway 17 is a primary highway, therefore the response time for a pothole in a travelling lane is one day following notification, according to the ministry.
Pierce also intends to file a highways claim against the ministry.
“Maybe in the future they can put up some signs to let people know, or close the lane, or reduce the speed to 30 in that section,” she said. “Do something so that we can take the proper precautions to ensure that our families and our vehicles are being safe.”
The ministry said the contractor patched the area overnight on Saturday, Oct. 31.