What Hennepin County is doing about that airbag-popping pothole - KMSP-TV

What Hennepin County is doing about that airbag-popping pothole

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MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) -

A St. Paul man is recovering after his airbags deployed when his car hit a massive pothole in Minneapolis.

Dustin Duarte first told his story on FOX 9 Wednesday night. Thursday morning, we followed up with Hennepin County to see what’s being done about the road.

THE INCIDENT

Duarte was driving westbound on E. 46th Street, just past Minnehaha Avenue, when he suddenly hit the biggest pothole of his life, and the airbags deployed. VIEW PHOTOS

“Like some sort of SWAT team flash grenade going off in my face,” he said, describing the impact of the airbag.

‘FIRST I’VE HEARD OF IT’

For Hennepin County, it’s the first case of its kind they’ve seen, and it was their first order of business Thursday morning.

“That's the first I’ve heard of it,” said Brian Langseth, of Hennepin County road and bridge operations. “I've been working with the county for 35 years and I've never heard of an airbag going off on a pothole.”

Langseth said it usually takes crews about a day to react to a pothole report. After seeing the FOX 9 report, they said they were tackling the 46th Street pothole, and others, first thing Thursday morning.

“They went down there today and they say they found a number of holes and they used up to three tons on there,” Langseth said.

REPLACING ROADS

At some point it becomes not about one pothole, but an entire road or section of road that simply needs to be fixed. E. 46th Street East, where Duarte hit the pothole, appears to be one of those roads.

“We're going to do some overlay in that area this year - we'll do a spot overlay to try and fix that, and next year it's actually on the agenda to be replaced.

With bumps, severe bruises and a scratched cornea, Dustin Duarte is recovering at home. He’s scheduled to visit the eye doctor a later this week.

POTHOLE COMPENSATION

To receive any kind of compensation from the county, there first needs to be a report on the pothole. The county has 30 days to respond. They say the one that indirectly "sucker punched" Duarte was never reported, until now.

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