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Friday, May 09, 2008

Construction Incident on Borchard Road in Newbury Park

Ashley had an interesting incident a little just a couple of weeks ago on her way to work leaving our little development of Dos Vientos Ranch here in Newbury Park. The incident damaged her car that ended up with a trip to the Lexus dealership as well as a filed claim form with the City of Thousand Oaks.

Sign that fell into Ashleys car on the Borchard Road construction under unsafe conditions in Newbury Park
Anyone familiar with the construction knows that there is some sort of permanent center island and barrier being installed on the big hill on Borchard Road as it enters Dos Vientos Ranch. This is a project that has been pending since before we moved into the community with a “temporary” cement barrier being in place since at least 2001.

With the construction – the conditions on the grade are not very safe. They removed the bike lane and squeezed the primary outbound lane from Dos Vientos down to just 12 feet wide, especially down a curvy >10% incline that you see. While it was tight, it was really nothing either of us thought about today.

(This is mainly Ashley’s story – it sort of funny actually – as Ken had been out to 2:00am the previous night while at a client conference at the Biltmore in Phoenix, Arizona. In fact, Ashley’s call abruptly awoke him at 6:45am.)

As Ashley drove into work on this fateful day, little did she realize that this would be the first incident that her beloved Lexus would experience. Only when traffic ahead of her slowed to a stop did any indication of something out of the ordinary come about.

Ordinary or not, there was a Bobcat tractor just one vehicle ahead of her, from Dial Construction – based out of Simi Valley, CA. Unfortunately, in the early morning, the tractor clipped a temporary sign and some chaos ensued.

First the sign rocked right, then it rocked back to the left, and then it collapsed and fell into Ashley’s car – crashing against her side view mirror on the car. All Ashley heard was the crash and then she noticed that her right side view mirror was missing. Who knew what other damage had happened.

When Ashley arrived at the bottom of the hill, she pulled over to inspect the damage. Her poor GX470 had the entire side view mirror mount ripped from her vehicle with a major puncture from the sign impact in the top plastic portion. The only saving grace, amazingly no other parts of the vehicle were damaged – only the side view mirror.

Damaged side view mirror on the Lexus GX470
Ashley approached the construction crews headed by Dial Construction who was driving the offending Bobcat to speak with the foreman. Unfortunately, the foreman was not cooperative and escorted Ashley directly off the site.

After getting no assistance from the construction crews, I had Ashley take her car to the Lexus dealership before the hanging side view mirror could do damage to the car. While the part was not in stock immediately, we freaked out a little at the initial estimate -- $700. Still with little options with me out of town, Ashley went ahead. The good news is that when she picked up her car, the total was just a tad under $400. Expensive, but much better than what our initial expectations were.

With the car fixed, my attention shifted to getting a reimbursement from Dial Construction. I contacted the owner of Dial Construction, Randy and while he was aware of the situation on the construction site – he refused to pay for the damage that his crew caused to our vehicle.

Simultaneously, we started to contact the City of Thousand Oaks to see what their process and policies were. It was nearly impossible to get through anyone or get a response via the phone. Then, I turned to email and sent a note to the entire City Council to see what the process was.

Much to my surprise and appreciation, responses from the Mayor’s office was almost immediate and followed by instructions on how to file a claim with the city. I went to the website, downloaded the form and sent it in.

We’ll see how it goes – we would definitely love to get our $400 back from the damaged caused by the construction crews.