Claimants appeared in person.
Andrew Lopez, Attorney at Law, for respondent.


These claims were consolidated for hearing as the factual situations in
each are identical. On
April 2, 1985, the claimants, while operating separate vehicles, were
travelling westbound lanes
near the Montrose exit on Interstate I-64, Kanawha County. Each of the
vehicles struck the
same hole in the pavement of the highway. Both vehicles, a 1982
Chevrolet Cavalier, and a
1980 Buick Regal, were damaged. Ms. Moore, owner of the Chevrolet, seeks
an award of
$379.91; Ms. Taylor, owner of the Buick seeks $384.09.

The hole struck by the vehicles was located in the center lane of the
westbound lanes on
Interstate 64 where the highway has three westbound lanes. Ms. Moore's
accident occurred at
8:35 p.m.; Ms. Taylor's at approximately 8:15 p.m. The pavement was dry
at the time of the
accidents. Ms. Moore testified that she was unaware how long the hole
had been in existence.
Ms. Taylor testified that she had observed an indentation in the road
prior to her accident,
however the indentation was not a pothole at that time.
Paul Totten, a claims investigator for respondent, testified that he
became aware of the pothole
when he was notified of it on march 28, 1985. He notified respondent's
maintenance crew on
March 29, 1985.

Ray Harmon, respondent's employee, testified that on March 29, 1985, he
went to the area of
the Montrose exit on I-64 after work and patched a pothole. George
Harris, also employed by
respondent, testified that he assisted Harmon, and that they used "cold
mix." Carl Young,
another of respondent's employees, testified from respondent's work
sheets that work was done
on the potholes in the area of the Montrose exit on both March 29, 1985,
and April 1, 1985. He
further testified that a five-person crew worked through the night of
April 2, 1985, and repaired
the hole with "Quick-Crete." Herbert Boggs, Interstate Coordinator in
District 1 for respondent,
confirmed that he had inspected the completed work on the morning of
April 3, 1985, and at
that time there was no hole present.

Although the respondent's duty of reasonable care and diligence in the
maintenance of a
highway under all the circumstances, Parsons vs. State Road Commission,
8 Ct.Cl. 37 (1969),
may require respondent to put greater effort into the maintenance of
superhighways than in the
maintenance of the lesser-travelled county roads, Davis Auto Parts vs.
Department of Highways,
12 Ct.Cl. 31 (1977), and Bartz vs. Department of Highways, 10 Ct.Cl. 170
(1975), proof of
actual or constructive notice is required in all cases. The evidence in
this record indicates that the
dangerous condition appeared suddenly, and that the respondent promptly
moved to take safety
precautions as soon as it became aware of the problem. Barnhart vs.
Department of Highways,
12 Ct.Cl. 236 (1979). Adkins vs. Sims, 130 W.Va. 645, 46 S.E. 2d 81
(1947), holds that the
State is neither an insurer nor a guarantor of the safety of the
motorists on its highways. The
Court is of the opinion that negligence on the part of the respondent
has not been established
and, therefore, the Court denies these claims.

Claim disallowed.