A huge pothole on Interstate 10 West near the New Braunfels Avenue exit left as many as 20 cars with major tire damage Thursday morning.

The mini-crater, which measured an estimated three feet by two feet, seemed to have opened up overnight in the second lane of the westbound highway.

Laura Lopez with the Texas Department of Transportation said the cause of it is still under investigation, although it could be related to the recent rains.

The one-foot-deep highway hole made its presence known to drivers in the worst way, beginning at about 6:30 a.m.

Kenneth Anderson, who was headed to his job, said he was among the first to run into it, ruining a tire and rim on his car.

He said he never saw the pothole coming because it was still dark outside.

"I thought I was falling in the ground. It's a big pothole. It's huge,” Anderson said, as he waited for a tow truck to arrive. "I'm on my way to work right now so I have to call in and tell them I'm late."

Soon, he had plenty of company along the highway shoulder.

By 8 a. m., there were as many as 20 cars lined up on the road after their own close encounters with the crater. Some vehicles were left with more than one damaged tire.

"I thought I hit an animal or deer or something like that,” said Roy Zuniga. "I've never seen anything quite like this before. We were all concerned that it may have been stakes, somebody had played a prank, but it turned out to be a real pothole."

It was also a real pain for some drivers.

Robert Heifner’s car was already limping along after running into a pothole on the opposite side of I-10 Wednesday night.

“My spare's already on the car,” Heifner said. “It was too late to get another tire last night. So I said, 'Well, I'll go to work and get off and get another tire.'"

The latest clash with a pothole, though, left his spare tire damaged and flat.

Some drivers had to wait for tow trucks while others fixed the flats themselves.

A crew with the Texas Department of Transportation, meanwhile, began the hours long process of patching up the pothole.

Lopez said drivers whose cars were damaged by the pothole can file a claim with TxDOT.

Claims must be submitted in writing to: Texas Department of Transportation, Office of Occupational Safety, 150 E. Riverside Drive, Austin, TX, 78704.

Images: I-10 pothole flattens tires

Published On: Jan 10 2013 09:04:44 AM CST   Updated On: Jan 10 2013 10:00:15 AM CST

About 20 cars got one or more flat tires from a pothole in one of the lanes of Interstate 10 West near New Braunfels Avenue.

1 / 9