DDOT denies driver's I-295 tar claim reimbursement

Just two weeks ago, I-295 southbound was brought to a standstill during evening rush hour after dozens of drivers got stuck in wet tar.

Many drivers, that day, left frustrated wondering who would be held responsible.

The District was previously telling people to file a claim for the damages.

But FOX 5's Jacqueline Matter has learned at least one man’s claim for reimbursement was denied.

Several drivers we’ve spoken to in the last two weeks have said they’re out thousands of dollars from the wet tar sticking to their tires.

The District Department of Transportation (DD0T) explained that a sealant substance that goes into the cracks of the road before laying asphalt down was to blame for the damages.

READ MORE: Nightmare for drivers stuck in wet tar, asphalt along I-295 southbound

FOX 5 spoke to one man from Olney who saw our original report and knew to file a claim with the Office of Risk Management (ORM) after DDOT said that was the best action to take.

"I would not have known what to do had it not been for you. I would’ve probably just said, ‘eh you know it is what it is, and sucked it up and bought new tires,’" he said.

On Thursday, he received a phone call and a letter from the Office of Risk Management saying his claim was denied and that the construction company that was doing the work along I-295 is accepting liability.

ORM did confirm people who may have filed a complaint with the District should now contact Fort Myer Construction Company.

FOX 5 reached out to the company who said they are continuing to work closely with DDOT in its investigation.

They deferred to their previous statement from two weeks ago saying, "Fort Myer Construction Corporation is working closely with the District Department of Transportation to investigate the cause of the incident. The VRAM sealant was not applied by Fort Myer Construction. The manufacturer of the sealant required that their certified contractor, American Paving Fabrics Inc., apply the product to the job site. We have proudly served the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia for 50 years completing infrastructure construction projects that keep our neighbors on the go and make our communities beautiful." 

When FOX 5 asked the Fort Myer Construction company to clarify whether drivers should send their claims to them, they said to follow any guidance from DDOT or ORM. 

The driver we spoke to says despite D.C’s quick response to his claim, this all has become a major inconvenience.

"I think my main frustration comes from the fact don’t do that in the middle of the day," he said. "At 10 a.m. in the morning when people are commuting to work there’s no reason to do that on 295 in the morning. Like that’s a 10 at night to 4 in the morning thing so that less travelers, less people are inconvenienced. They should know better."


DDOT told FOX 5 that their investigation is ongoing, and they will release the findings once it wraps up.

The Office of Risk Management said they had about 32 claims made altogether.

If you still need to file a claim or need to update your previous one, the details are below: 

Matthew J. Graeff, JD

Director of Claims

Fort Myer Construction Corp.

2237 33rd Street NE

Washington, DC  20018

202.636.9535  x-2616

Fax - 202.269.2249