The polar vortex brought us record cold and snow-fall accumulations during the winter of 2013-14. Now the freeze and thaw cycle is ravaging our roads. New potholes appear with each passing day of March.
The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is responsible for 10,000 miles of state highways. Thus far MDOT has spent $72 million on total road maintenance through January 2014. This compares to only $34 million for 2012 and $39 million in 2013 through January. Additionally, MDOT has paid its staff 187 % more in overtime road maintenance this winter and had expended 85 % more for road salt this winter.
The City of Ann Arbor's Administrator, Steve Powers, was quoted in the Ann Arbor News saying "We're really getting kicked in the teeth this year" when referring to the weather's toll on the city's streets. The City of Ann Arbor has used 251 tons of asphalt cold patch this year in February 2014 to repair potholes. Last year the City only used 100 tons. City residents have lodged 283 complaints requesting pothole repairs in February. This is more than six times the number of pothole complaints last year.
Retired Ann Arbor City Police officer, Rich Kinsey, suggests the following advice for dealing with potholes, avoiding damage to your car, and keeping the City's asphalt cold-patch crews safe: (1). drive more slowly than usual; (2). try to memorize the potholes on your daily drive; (3). be watchful for cold-patch crews walking behind their cold-patch dump trucks.
Caution is the watch-word this spring in Michigan to avoid serious injuries and death resulting from the loss of control of your automobile due to potholes or unexpected road-patch repair crews.