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Thu March 20, 2014
You're not going to like the answer: 'How long to get rid of all those potholes?'
Virtually every city in Michigan has 'em, and lots of 'em.
The extreme cold this winter created a bumper crop of potholes that are slowing traffic and causing accidents and flat tires.
Some streets have degraded so much they're more pothole than driveable surface. Commuting has turned into a real-life game of Frogger.
And here's the really bad news. Some cities won't be back to a "normal" number of potholes until June.
Todd Nepper runs the city of Jackson's Public Works Department.
He says fixing potholes with hot asphalt requires warmer weather.
"The cold patching we're doing right now is purely temporary," says Nepper. To make matters worse, "the asphalt plants are looking to open later than usual, because of the cold weather."
Robert Kellar is a spokesman for public services in Ann Arbor. He says road crews are doing their best, but it's the proverbial one step forward, two steps back.
"The cold and the wet weather continues, unfortunately. So, we are having to not only address the potholes that exist but the new ones that crop up because of the freeze-thaw cycle."
The state Legislature is considering approving additional money to send to cities for pothole repairs.
But, that likely will not speed up the pace of pothole repairs because the weather is not cooperating.
City road officials say the extra money will help get summer roadwork done – since so many cities exhausted their road budgets this winter on salting and snowplowing.
Kellar says Ann Arbor will have a pothole reporting app available in time for next winter. People will be able to identify the location of a pothole that needs fixing by pinpointing it on a map.
The city is also trying to build roads that are more resistant to potholes.