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City crews could be to blame for DC 295 tar incident, officials said

During a news conference Thursday, Mayor Bowser expressed her belief that misapplied material during a paving project led to vehicles getting stuck on the roadway.

WASHINGTON — Referring to a Wednesday incident that literally had drivers stuck in traffic, D.C. officials preliminarily placed the responsibility for the wet tar spill on DC-295 on city road crews working on a paving project. 

Crews said all lanes of DC-295 were back open Thursday following closures that stretched overnight due to the tar on the roadway. Crews worked all night to get the road back open.

"My initial feedback is there was misapplied material. But, I have to dig into that a little bit more before I can say exactly what happened," said D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser at a Thursday press conference in response to questioning about the event.

When asked if D.C. ultimately was liable for the sticky situation and damage to drivers' vehicles, Mayor Bowser said, "I'm saying, preliminarily, it looks that way." 

As far as what next steps drivers affected by the tar spill should take, she said if the District ultimately is found liable for the damage drivers should contact the Department of Risk Management.

"It's a D.C. government agency that basically handles claims," Bowser said. "If the district is liable for damage."

She also added that it was still too early to give more exact details about why the event occurred and how they will ensure it doesn't occur again.

Sharon Kershbaum, Deputy Director of the District Department of Transportation, said DDOT is currently researching to figure out exactly what happened, as they used materials that are commonly used in repaving, both here and in other jurisdictions.

"Apparently there was some material that was getting stuck to some vehicles' tires," said Sharon Kershbaum, Deputy Director of the District Department of Transportation.

Kershbaum said DDOT is researching to figure out exactly what happened, as they used materials that are commonly used in repaving, both here and in other jurisdictions.

"We think there was something about the application technique that was done," Kershbaum said. "Until we understand more we are going to pause the use [of that technique] and repave in a more standard way."


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