3 ON YOUR SIDE: Who owns the pothole-ridden road? - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

3 ON YOUR SIDE: Who owns the pothole-ridden road?

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - A Hixson woman could be on her own to fix her car after hitting a pothole on Northpoint Boulevard, a popular shortcut between Northgate Mall and Highway 153.

Channel 3 tried tracking down the owner of the road Wednesday to ask about repairs to the woman's car. But we found Northpoint Boulevard has two owners: the City of Chattanooga and a private owner.

Mary Shiver nailed the deep pothole outside Suntrust Bank this weekend. It was big enough to do some big damage to the car she was driving. It bent a customized wheel that could cost hundreds of dollars to repair.

"We thought we straddled it and didn't and boom, there was a pothole,” said Mary Shiver. "When we were there Saturday we saw chunks of it in the middle of the road, like in the turning lane.”

So who's responsible for fixing this woman's car?

If the City of Chattanooga owned that section of the road, it might pay for the damage. But it's a bit more complex in this case and it's a puzzle that dates back almost 30 years.

"No one seems to know who owns that section of the road," Shiver said.

The City of Chattanooga owns Northpoint Blvd from Hixson Pike to Old Hixson Pike and from Bank of America to Hwy 153. A private owner owns the section of road from Suntrust Bank to Bank of America.

Lee Norris with the Public Works Department said it's possible "multiple private parties" own that stretch of road. But even his office hasn't been able to track down the exact owner.

"That property has changed hands so many times and been subdivided so many times, it's going to take a little while to run all this down," said Public Works Administrator Lee Norris.

Channel 3 obtained land surveys and deeds through Hamilton County to try and find the owner.

Records show nearby property which includes the private road has passed hands many times.

The last known owner was Suntrust, signing the deed in December 1990. Suntrust bought the land from LBC Associates, who agreed in the deed to keep the road in good condition by “maintaining all paved services in a smooth condition, including sweeping, re-striping and resurfacing as necessary.”

Now the city wants to buy it and own the entire stretch of Northpoint Blvd. Norris said such a sale would be in the name of public safety.

 “I think we're going to launch a full court press to try and determine ownership of it and get some resolution to final ownership over that section of road,” Norris said. “We've attempted several times in the past to acquire some of that road and we have not been successful.”

Shiver called 311 to report the pothole and the city's public works department filled it, despite it not being on city property.

But she's hit another bump in the road: tracking down whoever is liable for this damage to her car.

Norris advises all drivers to call 311 if they encounter a pothole. If the city knew about the pothole and neglected to fix it, it could be liable to any damage to your car.

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