DENVER - A hole in the highway: at first glance it's an average pothole catching cars at high speeds along Interstate 25, south of 84th Avenue. But after a closer look and a different perspective, the pothole is big enough to be captured in a Google Earth image.
The man who hit it saw it plain as day. But he thinks the Colorado Department of Transportation must have overlooked the gaping hole.
It was the lesser of two evils, for Don Rocha.
"I didn't want to swerve and roll my car over," Rocha said.
He was merging onto I-25 when he says the pothole took up one-third of the only lane he could get into.
"I hit it, I ran over it," he said.
And he felt every bit of it.
"It was a massive bump, it felt like I hit something," Rocha said.
The pothole is just one of the thousands CDOT has to keep up with. They pop up this time of year when the weather changes, about as consistently as the traffic on this part of I-25. But this pothole sort of stands out.
"To see the craters on Google Earth was unbelievable," Rocha said.
Rocha pulled up the northbound part of the highway on Google Earth and he found that the hole was big enough to be spotted in an aerial view.
"I think it's a fail on CDOT's part," said Rocha. "They need to be a little more diligent on a heavily traveled highway like that."
What's more, a CDOT garage is just feet away from the pothole.
Google says its images can be approximately one to three years old, so it's a good bet the hole has been there a while. But CDOT says that could be the issue. The hole has likely been permanently sealed and broken open again several times.
Rocha wrote an email to CDOT and is filing a claim with the state's Office of Risk Management for the damages to his car and tire. He was told it could take eight weeks to process. He says he hopes the hole is filled before then.
"Someone who doesn't have a solid set of tires on there, that thing blows out, you cause an accident," Rocha said.
CDOT found the pothole and fixed it following Rocha's complaint. Officials with the department say they're seeing a significant increase in potholes after the Mother's Day snowstorm.
If you see a pothole, you can report it to CDOT at http://www.coloradodot.info/topcontent/contact-cdot.