A recent study claimed that Michigan has the third worst potholes in the country, based on Google search statistics. The American Automobile Association estimates that American drivers spend nearly $ 3 billion a year to repair pothole damage.
Michigan Department of Transportation spokesman Tim Fisher said the state spends $ 6 million to $ 7 million a year to fill about 400,000 potholes. This is in addition to those corrected by counties and local communities.
“It’s too early to say how this year compared to other years in terms of potholes – especially since the freeze-thaw cycle is just beginning,” Fisher said. “We’ve heard many times that it’s bad, and I know firsthand what it feels like when your car hits the store.”
Sarah Herifford of Grand Ledge said the potholes caused significant damage to her car.
“I’d say it’s worse this year,” Herifford said. “My car came out of the rubble badly and the wheel bearings weakened. It was a $ 600 car bill. ”
Roads in Michigan are not easy. The state is there ranked 10th for the worst road conditions in the country and they are underfunded. Michigan Senate Fiscal Agency It is estimated that it will cost $ 2 billion a year set up public roads.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer promised to “fix the damn roads” when campaigning for the post in 2018, but failed to raise the gas tax by 45 cents a gallon to raise another $ 2.5 billion a year.
Instead, she cut back on her plans, issued bonds to pay for repairs and invested about $ 4 billion during her tenure. repair over 13,000 miles of roads.
Not everyone is unhappy.
Jerry Carpenter, owner of Liskey’s Auto Truck Service in Lansing, said mechanics are looking forward to the potholes because they spend them through a slow period.
“I probably make 10 cars a day that fall into potholes,” Carpenter said. “(Road workers) can’t fill them up quickly. They fill them and open again in a couple of days. “
The number of potholes in need of patchwork has forced Macomb County Roads Department Director Brian Santa to hire workers to help with the cargo. Santa said his crews work extended hours and weekends to fill roads.
“Unfortunately, Mother Nature is wreaking havoc on the severe effects of freezing and thawing,” Santa said. “We all know why this is happening, we’ve had a lack of funding for Michigan roads for decades.”
Santa said the department is trying to increase the number of roads in good or good condition, but it has a lot of work to do. It would be worth it $ 2.3 billion to repair all Macomb County roads784 miles of which are in poor condition.
“Hopefully, with some extra funding and focused efforts, we will continue to bring our bad roads in good condition and have a less efficient pothole season. That is the ultimate goal, ”Santa said.
Craig Bryson, senior communications manager for the Auckland County Road Commission, said last month his agency received about 300 complaints about potholes in one day, but this season the potholes are not hitting the county as hard as in the past.
In 2019, Auckland County reported a record 9,729 potholes. That number dropped to 2,057 in 2020, when the county resumed road coverage and the COVID pandemic detained many residents inside.
“We’ve put about 500 miles of new road coverage in the last five years since the gas tax increase in 2017,” Bryson said, referring to increase up to 26 cents a gallon out of 19 cents.