Navigating Michigan roads this winter is tantamount to walking through a mine field.
It’s been said that our roads are the worst in the nation. That was stated long before the current experience of potholes surfaced, which have, in some cases, become so large and dangerous that highways have been closed for emergency repairs.
Traffic reports in the morning invariably mention the number of cars parked on the shoulders with blown tires, bent rims, and demolished shocks. Just the other day, somewhere on I-94 and Ten Mile Road there were so many cars with flat tires and other damages that it took over three hours for tow trucks to clear the expressway.
The tire stores in the state are having a bonanza and some are even exhausting their supply of tires because there have been so many claims.
One stretch along Mound Round in Macomb Township is so bad that someone suggested driving on the sidewalk. In some instances, drivers are going only 10-15 miles an hour in order to avoid the potholes because it takes an eagle eye to see the holes and then avoid them.
And don’t even think about driving at night or after a rainfall because at night one cannot see the potholes and after a rain the potholes are filled with water just awaiting an unexpected driver to fall into that trap.
So yes, we are a state with thousands and thousands of potholes and if you look carefully you will see another phenomenon – hundreds of cars with one donut tire because one of the tires has been shredded. Saw a Cadillac Escalade the other day with a donut tire – what a sight!
Is there an answer for all this? Well, for starters Michigan has some of the highest truck weight limits in the nation. So when you see these behemoth vehicles navigating our roads know that many are responsible for destroying our roads. You can thank the Lansing legislators for that.
And just maybe there is some blame to pass on to the contractors who pave the roads. Seems the roads in Ohio, which are subjected to the same Winter conditions, are in better shape. The argument is that there is more funding for the roads in Ohio; or just maybe the contractors are doing a better job?
It would seem there should be some type of workmanship guarantee on resurfacing from contractors: either repair the road if it deteriorates after a couple of years or post a bond when the work is originally done so that the state or county can be reimbursed for repairs.
In the meantime, be on the lookout for potholes, for patching crews, for flying tar fragments, for broken down cars on the shoulders, for tow trucks and for cars swerving into your lane to avoid a pothole.
Winter in Michigan – what a wonderful time!