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Sask. driver's vehicle covered in tar from unmarked highway construction


A Saskatchewan woman is frustrated because of damage to her vehicle that happened on Highway 51 south of Saskatoon, and she’s having trouble finding out who’s responsible.

Melinda Lee is from Moose Jaw and is frustrated, because of the damage to her vehicle which happened in late August. She was driving west of Biggar when she approached a construction vehicle with no signs indicating roadwork was being done.

“I couldn’t see overtop of the hill because there was a construction vehicle parked there and I kind of stopped behind it and the person in the vehicle stuck his hand out and waved me to go past,” Melinda Lee told CTV News.

Lee proceeded on in the direction they gestured. She says both sides of that single lane highway were being repaved, so she drove on the fresh blacktop.

“It’s not my fault that they put tar on both sides of the road, and I had nowhere to drive,” Lee says.

She continued on her journey perplexed by what had happened.

“When I got to Saskatoon and got out of my car, I realized there was tar all over it. It was splashed all over it on all four sides pretty much,” she said.

According to Lee there was no signage indicating work was being done.

In an email to CTV News on Monday, the Ministry of Highways placed blame on a private contractor it claimed was doing work without signs or a flag person in the area of the incident.

However, on Tuesday the ministry sent a follow-up message where it retracted its initial claim, saying the contractor it named, Venture Construction, had nothing to do with the incident.

"The ministry will review the circumstances related to the incident and follow up with the motorist when our review is completed."

Lee was handed a damage estimate of $12,000 for the work, which includes replacing the rear window, which is covered in tar. The deductible is $700, which is an amount Lee does not want to pay.

SGI spokesperson Tyler McMurchy says he can’t speak to specific cases due to privacy issues, but he did say that one option in cases like this is legal action.

“A customer could either pay out of pocket and have damages covered by a third party responsible going through the small claims court process,” McMurchy told CTV News.

It’s been over three months that Lee has had to drive around with the tar on her vehicle with no path to get the mess cleaned up in a way that she sees as fair.

“I shouldn’t have to use my insurance to pay for it, because it wasn’t my fault.” 


Based on information provided by Saskatchewan's Ministry of Highways, this story incorrectly stated Venture Construction was responsible for the worksite where Lee's car was damaged. In a follow-up message sent a day after this story was published, the ministry alerted CTV News about its mistake. This story has been updated to correct the error. Top Stories

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