Solon resident Aaron Hershey said he has never recalled the roads being this bad in the community he has called home since 2006.

Mr. Hershey is among the more than 40 motorists who have submitted vehicle damage claims linked to the $1.04 million SOM Center Road project from Route 422 to the railroad bridge. He said that his goal is for someone to take responsibility.

Mr. Hershey’s claim states that unevenness of the road left his 2018 Toyota car undriveable for three weeks and resulted in $7,000 in damage. That claim recently was denied by Chagrin Valley Paving’s insurance carrier Westfield, he said.

City officials said that the company awarded the construction project is responsible for vehicle damage claims.

The notice of denial sent to Mr. Hershey from Westfield Insurance company statement that since the construction zone was “marked,” their client, Chagrin Valley Paving, is not responsible.

“I would hope someone would take responsibility,” Mr. Hershey said.

Solon Finance Director Matthew Rubino said the city’s position is that the contractor’s insurance carrier should be liable for “legitimate damage claims.”

There is a process to review these claims, he said, including evaluating the requests to prove they were caused substantially in the work zone.

“We are continuing to make the city’s case,” Mr. Rubino said. “Our position is that the substantiated claims should be covered by their insurance, (but) there is no final answer yet.”

Mr. Hershey said he wants other motorists who have filed claims to be aware of his denial. “I’m assuming everyone will get the same letter.”

He said that when his car sustained damaged around 2 p.m. on Sept. 18, he contacted the city’s service department within 20 minutes. He was traveling about 20 mph on SOM Center Road at the time, he recalled, and was heading to Walgreens at the corner of SOM and Bainbridge roads.

He said he felt the impact and by the time he got to Walgreens, which was just up the road, there was a puddle of fluid under his car.

“I started to drive and the transmission was starting to slip before I even got home,” he said, which was just a quarter mile from Walgreens to Springside Drive. “It was really bad.”

Mr. Hershey said the service department representative on the phone sounded as through everyone was well aware of this type of situation. He was told that he needed to make a police report and submit a repair estimate to the city’s public works Director Bill Drsek.

“It sounded like everything is being taken care of,” Mr. Hershey said.

Mr. Hershey said he had to call his insurance company because his car was undriveable. The transmission pan was damaged and all the fluid leaked out, he said.

The entire undercarriage of his car was damaged by the raised castings, Mr. Hershey continued. Prior to the contractor installing a leveling course recently, the castings were raised about 3.5 inches higher than the road after the existing pavement was milled off.

“I did have to make a claim through my insurance,” he said. The damages were more than $7,000.

“I was without my car for three weeks, was responsible for a $500 deductible and I now own a car that is significantly devalued now that it has an accident reported in its vehicle history.”

Mr. Hershey said he would assume that the contractors told the city to have claims submitted to them and then turned around and denied all claims. He received one phone call from Westfield Insurance stating that they had received his information and were processing the claim and received the denial letter last week.

“Now I will have raised insurance rates as well,” Mr. Hershey added. “I would hope someone would take responsibility.

“I’m still fuming over all this.”

For the last decade, Sue Reid has covered the government, business climate and residents of Solon. A Times reporter for 22 years, Ms. Reid has earned commendations from the Ohio Newspaper Association and Cleveland Press Association.

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