“They’re just passing the buck”: Drivers on I-10 are frustrated as F-DOT denies their damage claims

The Florida Department of Transportation has denied claims from drivers after their cars were damaged while driving on a stretch of I-10 between Chaffee Road and Hammond Boulevard.

Angela Wood had her claim denied by F-DOT even though she has nicks and cracks in her windshield.

“There was one that hit so hard that I thought my windshield was going to shatter right in front of me driving,” Wood said.

MORE: I-TEAM: Hundreds of I-10 drivers share photos & stories of damaged cars and windshields | ‘Danger zone’: Drivers concerned about safety as loose asphalt crashes into windshields on I-10

Her car was damaged on Jan. 22 and she filed a claim with F-DOT after she saw the News4JAX’s story the next day.

Days later, she got an e-mail from the agency that said the area where the damages happened was within the limits of Jorgensen Contract Services. The agency has a maintenance agreement with that company and that claims should be directed to them.

Wood said she feels like F-DOT is giving her the runaround. “They’re just passing the buck, they’re not taking this seriously,” Wood said.

Another woman emailed News4JAX and said that she and others got the same response.

“This is making many of us that drive that route daily even more livid as we feel like F-DOT lied to you (News4JAX) just to shut us up about the road,” the woman said in an e-mail.

The I-TEAM asked F-DOT and the Florida Department of Financial Services several questions: the criteria to determine if claims are approved or denied, how many claims they’ve been receiving, how many have been approved, and if people should be reaching out directly to the chief financial officer.

F-DOT responded and said this is their regular process for claims. Once a claim is sent to the Office of General Counsel, it is then routed to the Chief Financial Officer and finally sent to the appropriate entity. This aids F-DOT in tracking the number of claims, types, locations, and dispositions. They continue to receive claims to this date and say they are working diligently with the appropriate parties.

The I-TEAM went to an address listed online for Jorgensen Contract Services but didn’t find anything. We left a voicemail at the Jacksonville location and was told contractors were out in the field.

According to the CFO’s website, this is an $87 million maintenance contract that started in 2018. The original contract includes two activities on I-10 east between Chaffee and Hammond and east of SR 23 for mowing, litter, tree trimming, and ditch cleaning.

F-DOT sweeps that stretch of I-10 once a week and Wood said she doesn’t think it’s helping with the debris that’s damaging cars.

The I-TEAM reached out to Jorgensen Incorporated, but has not received a response at the time of publishing this article.

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