TRI-CITY AREA — No one will dispute that the winter of 2008 is one of the worst for potholes in recent history.
Some are random and others add up to make for bumpy and tire-ravaging drives. Thanks to all the snow that's fallen and played a role in creating those potholes, road crews have been kept busy clearing the roads.
"It's a matter of people being available to repair them," Lapeer County Road Commission Road Engineer Rick Pearson said of potholes to be fixed.
Even a portion of Capac’s new Streetscape project couldn’t escape winter damage, but fixing the problems will fall back on the project’s contractors, per orders from the State of Michigan. photo by Maria Brown.
"And if the cold patch will stay in because the next freeze thaw cycle will take it out."
Pearson said the road commission's foremen keep an eye on trouble spots and take tips from local drivers.
"M-21 has quite a few potholes, as does I-69 west of M-24," he said of particularly rough spots in the county.
"We use cold patch all year long as weather permits and as the weather warms up we'll use hot mix and the AMZ which is a one-man machine that cleans, tars and chips the potholes."
The Village of Capac in St. Clair County has their share of potholes too, but they won't need to worry about damaged concrete in their newly paved downtown. That's because the Michigan Department of Transportation has yet to 'close out' the project which was completed this summer, meaning those original contractors will need to repair problems come spring, Manager Dennis Collison said.
The pothole prevalence has garnered lots of attention across the state. The Michigan Transportation Team, through their drivemi.org Web site have tried to find some 'fun' in the issue. Through March 28, they are accepting photos of some of the worst potholes as part of a contest. The winning entries will receive a $318 'service center scholarship,' that is, the average cost of the state's crumbling roads to every motorist.
According to drivemi.org, it doesn't help the rough road situation that $300 million was cut from the state's latest transportation budget. High gas prices are to blame too since drivers seem to cut back on long trips, thus putting less into the state's road coffers.